Statement of Senator Richard J. Gordon on killings and the PUV modernization
Reports about killings – whether of lawyers, judges, mayors, congressmen, priests, or people from all walks of life, have made it on the news daily that our countrymen are already despairing that there will ever be a solution.
It is time that we take action to stop these killings because we cannot be mere spectators and become desensitized to them. Hence, there is a very urgent need to fully implement Republic Act 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act because riding-in-tandem killers have become so fearless that there had been 93 shootings recorded by our office from January 1 to March 14, with only two of their victims getting away unhurt.
Aside from these killings committed with impunity, the public also has to contend with road accidents as one of the leading causes of death, overtaking deadly diseases like dengue. The Metro Manila Development Authority has reported that in 2019, 372 incidents with fatalities were tallied in Metro Manila, alone.
We have to undertake measures to ensure the safety of commuters and this would be ensured with the proposed modernized PUVs that will be equipped with technology, such as CCTV camera, GPS monitor and speed limiter, among others. Incidence of robbery, hold-ups, road scams, and others might be reduced or resolved easily due to the CCTV.
However, we also have to balance this with the concern for the close to 200,000 jeepney drivers and operators who would lose their only source of livelihood if the PUV modernization would abruptly push through without somehow cushioning the impact on them. With the COVID-19 pandemic already affecting the income of these drivers and operators, we should look into the matter properly before fully implementing the modernization program and come up with measures that could lighten the burden for them.
Aside from this, providing training for better driving skills and road discipline for drivers, not only jeepney drivers but all PUVs drivers, would also prevent road accidents. This would be further enhanced with the help of speed limiters and assignment of enforcers to check those who are exceeding the limit as well as other traffic violations and religiously imposing proper sanctions without looking the other way because they were given bribes.
We all have to work together to put a stop to these killings and deaths to make our country a safer place to live in.
SEN. RICHARD J. GORDON
Pasay City, 17 March 2021