The pain of law enforcement: Jaywalking
Recently, a sad incident happened involving the wife of a town Mayor and the Volunteer Service Program volunteers of the City of Tacloban. Accounts had it that a lady Tacloban visitor who happened to be the pretty wife of a Mayor with her bodyguards/companions crossed the street without passing through the pedestrian lane. The group was apprehended by VSP Volunteers for the obvious violation of traffic rules. The lady was presumably embarrassed or too haughty to accept her mistake that she unceremoniously took out money from her bag to pay the penalty resulting to a bundle of cash in 1,000 bills to fly and scatter around. The poor husband, who is known to be a soft-hearted and good man, painstakingly picked up the bills lying around without a word.
The above scenario is just one of those accounts involving people due to violations of various traffic rules and regulations that are being implemented in the City of Tacloban.
Other funny anecdotes involve people pretending to be naïve or gullible asking the Volunteers innocently: “Kay hain ngayan an aragian han taga Samar (or any other place they can cook up).” Filipinos have a peculiar way of avoiding blame or accountability when they are in a fix. We can cook up many things just to avoid answerability, embarrassment or liability. Some would rather act foolishly than simply accept and pay the fine.
The simple usage of the pedestrian lane is an international practice that is common in all places whether big cities, small cities or towns all over the globe. As early as elementary grades, children are taught basic traffic rules and values for their own safety. Parents also give such lessons to their children the moment a child is already permitted to go out alone. No one can claim innocence or ignorance of such laws so much so that it is clear and common knowledge that “ignorance of the law excuses no one.”
The public must understand that such laws, ordinances and rules being implemented by the City government and any local government for that matter redound to the benefit of the public itself. How can the society enjoy peace, security, safety and order if its members, the people themselves will not follow simple rules? Following basic rules is important in establishing order; it is for public safety. People must realize that leaders can only do much. The public has to take equal responsibilities. There should be no leeway that should be allowed for the errant or they will make it their habit or way of life to keep transgressing and breaching. Most importantly, people must not take it against the enforcers when they are apprehended for breaches or violations of traffic laws.
Educated people and those who occupy special places in society have bigger and higher responsibilities and accountabilities to reach the ideal decorum in public. Those who are ordinary look up to these people as their model and when they are chanced upon to do the contrary; it become their frustration and disappointment. The exercise of the law must be equal to both the haves and the haves-not; the pretty and the simple looking; the schooled and the unschooled. Those at the other side of the fence are looking for hope, examples and the beautiful side of life. It is the obligation of the rich, the pretty and the knowledgeable to live up to the expectations of behaving in public and not to throw around their weight on people who are just enforcing the law.
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