ESPRESSO MORNINGS

By Joe Zaldarriaga

Long before the pandemic hit the Philippine economy, transportation had already been a huge challenge to Filipino commuters. The lack of quality infrastructure, railway projects and public terminals has taken its toll on the quality of life of the commuting public and heavily affected their productivity in the workplace.

Now that things have gone back to normal and with the busy Christmas holiday just around the corner, traffic in Metro Manila is expected to worsen with the ramped-up business activities, and more Filipinos outdoors to take advantage of the sales and promotions from retailers.

Compared to before though, getting through traffic jam now is easier with the increase in the number of two-wheeled vehicles on the streets. No wonder, Metro Manila saw a boom in motorcycle riding businesses over the past few years as they can zigzag through gridlocked cars and get anyone faster to their destination.

While more affordable though, two-wheeled vehicles pose a higher risk.

Last year, Metro Manila alone recorded 22,964 motorcycle accidents. There were 14,870 persons injured, of which 11,549 were riders, 1,839 were pillions, and 1,208 were pedestrians.

Quezon City was where the highest number of motorcycle accidents were recorded with 8,281, followed by Makati City with 1,568 and Pasig City with 1,489.

EDSA, on the other hand, recorded the highest number of motorcycle accidents with 6,523, followed by C5 with 5,769, and Commonwealth Avenue with 3,057.

One of the recent ones occurred recently in Quezon City. Last weekend, a tow vehicle owned by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) was towing a truck carrying a load of sand that malfunctioned along Aurora Boulevard and Broadway Avenue.

According to reports, the tow bar broke down and got detached, ramming four motorcycles tailing behind. Three of the riders suffered from injuries, while one of them, identified as 42-year-old Dexter Cortez, was rushed to East Avenue Medical Center but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The tow truck driver, however, has been detained and is expected to face charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide, physical injuries, and damage to property following the completion of evidence.

The MMDA, through acting chairman Romando Artes, already sent his apologies to the family of the deceased and promised that MMDA will “do everything to prevent similar incidents from happening again.” He said that an investigation is already underway to look into the incident.

But the ultimate question here is the quality of the MMDA equipment used to tow the truck of sand. Who should have been responsible for ensuring that these equipment were safe before they were deployed to tow on the roads?

Nobody knew it would happen, and people always said that when it’s your time, it’s your time, but accidents like this could have been prevented if only the safety and quality of the equipment had been ensured beforehand. Let this be a lesson to everyone, not only for MMDA, to first check the quality and integrity of their equipment before they have it used to avoid causing unwanted incidents to the public.

Meanwhile, let this also be a lesson to motorcycle riders to avoid tailing too close to larger vehicles in front to avoid similar incidents from happening again. At the end of the day, accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. No matter how professional and how long we have been driving on the road, we should remain sober and alert, because many out there aren’t.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary. 

About the Columnist

Columnist Image

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.