The incensing incident that killed a 14-year-old Makati City student while routinely crossing the street on his way home only to be mowed down by a jeepney, which also resulted in the injury of seven other children, is a legitimate wakeup call for the modernization of the transport system.
The death of Jules Villapando should not have happened had a systematic operation been present among public transportation instead of the royal rumble of jeepneys and buses on the streets.
Without an organized setup, there is no guarantee of responsible or qualified drivers, nor is there an assurance on the roadworthiness of the transport vehicles.
Also, commuters are never certain of having a ride during unlikely hours, since jeepneys and buses ply the streets like a herd, as they are all there during peak hours and drop out of roads when they perceive few passengers.
The most lethal combination, however, is a dilapidated vehicle and a drug addict for a driver, which was the evil mix that resulted in the death of Villapando.
President Rody Duterte started his term with the vow to modernize the public transport system, and the most resistant sector to the effort are the jeepneys whose owners claim entitlement to being social icons that no government can interfere with.
He also made a determined vow to rid the nation of the menace of narcotics.
The modernization pressed on despite the opposition, as the public is sorely in need of a convenient mass transport system.
During most of the term of former President Noynoy Aquino, the Philippine National Railway (PNR) trains, the cheapest form of public transportation, were in a state of disrepair, while the Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 was on limited service, as funds for the maintenance of these vital services were either neglected or diverted to other politically-charged purposes.
Commuters had the feeling of being in a limbo of despair as to how to get to their destination as the roads were also packed with private vehicles, while buses and jeepneys were full to the brim as a result of the dilapidated train system.
The ride-hailing services thus became an attractive option for commuters, but the new mode meant more vehicles on the street that further worsened road congestion.
The poor state of the train system was proven to be the result of Noynoy and his Liberal Party (LP) cohorts exploiting the lucrative contracts associated with the public mass transport and milking the kickbacks from these deals to raise party funds.
From there on, a chain reaction happened resulting to the anarchy on Manila’s streets, which will soon ease up as many of the infrastructure initiatives under Rody start operations such as the Skyway and the new train systems.
Already the PNR and the overheard train systems have new comfortable coaches, while the railways are being rehabilitated, which have never happened in the former regime.
Politics has a lot to do with the poor state of the public transport system, which is what the resistance of jeepney operators and drivers who are being instigated by the yellow detractors of Rody is all about.
Had the secret yellow minion in the Senate who dons the cloak of an independent legislator ceased to be an obstruction to the call of transport officials for emergency powers, the solution to the transport labyrinth would have been reached by now.
The useless waste of economic resources and lives, in the case of Villapando, would have been averted had less ambitions been present among the usual critics of Rody.