Traffic violations unabated in Zamboanga City
HUNDREDS or perhaps thousands of commuters in Zamboanga City continue to be at the mercy of abusive and undisciplined drivers of public jeeps and tricycles, and even commuter vans.
The safety and welfare of passengers are always at risk due to overloaded jeeps. Just last week, a woman was killed and more than two dozen others injured when their overloaded jeep rammed a tree and overturned on a village in Zamboanga City.
The 41-year old driver, Wilfred Francisco, was among the injured mostly students - when the jeep’s break system failed while on a downhill road in Cabatangan village. Police said the jeep was overloaded with passengers clinging on its rear when the accident occurred.
Francisco is facing criminal charges for the death of the passenger and injuries to others. The vehicle was carrying about 30 passengers, way above its seating capacity of 14 people, according to one of the injured victim.
Last year, a 50-year old teacher Sophia Dimawala was also killed and 19 others injured after the van they were riding overturned in the village of Caragasan in Zamboanga City. Police said the was travelling over 100 kilometers per hour when the driver – Bashir Salahiron – lost control of the wheel while trying to avoid a headon collision with a motorcycle.
The van, carrying more than a dozen passengers, was heading to Ayala village in the west coast, and two passengers, who previously rode with Salahiron, said the driver was reckless and that many times nearly or had hit other vehicles while plying the same route.
Also last year, a speeding passenger jeep rammed a concrete pole on the highway before rolling over on its side and killing the 30-year old Romualdo Apolinario and injured over a dozen more, many sitting on the roof.
The jeep’s driver Jan Michael Fabian said he avoided a collision with a motorcycle and lost control of the wheel. The motorcycle driver, a student of the Western Mindanao State University, said the jeep clipped his bike before ramming the pole.
Zamboanga City has one of the most ineffective traffic management in the region where police authorities and local government, including the Land Transportation Office, ignored serious violations of traffic rules by passenger jeeps and van drivers. Many commuter jeeps take passengers and allow them to sit on the roof and often are overloaded.
Many transport vehicles plying the east coast villages also take passengers more than the capacity of their jeeps, but nothing has been done by the traffic police and traffic personnel from City Hall about this violation.
Traffic violations remain unabated in Zamboanga – from illegal parking to overloaded jeeps and mini-buses – to abusive drivers. Despite the violations, traffic policemen and traffic enforcers from the local government failed to address the worsening situation here.
The Land Transportation Office in Western Mindanao said it would launch a massive campaign against overloaded passenger vehicles in Zamboanga in an effort to curb the rampant violations of the law and to protect the riding public from grave dangers, but this did not materialize.
An overloaded jeep continues to take passengers in Zamboanga City in Western Mindanao and putting their lives in danger. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
EVERYDAY SCENES. Overloaded jeepneys and traffic violators in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)