Taking the jeepney
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
Taking steps to minimize our individual carbon foot print would help Mother Earth recover from all the pollution we are spewing every minute of the day.
So it is my wont when going to court hearings in Itogon, Benguet not to drive my car. I take a cab going down and, chances are, being a rush hour, it will have a backload coming up to Baguio.
At least I will not drive back alone in a car. With all those uphill roads, my car would be spewing a lot of pollutants.
So last Thursday, I did that again.
On other days when my court trials are in the city, I take a cab because there are no parking spaces in town. Getting one near the courthouse would almost be impossible.
Last Friday, however, was not like other days. It was raining and I had a breakfast appointment near the court with a desperate client. I had to be there in the restaurant before 8:30 so we would be done before 9:00 as I should be in court at the top of the hour for the case of another desperate client who had been pushing me to speed up her case as she needed the result to be able to get a fiancee visa. She had been calling me almost every other day the past two weeks, wasting a lot of money through overseas calls.
There was just nothing I could do but to go by the pace of the court.
So I had to be there at the 8:30 appointment but when I tried to get a cab, they were all loaded and the seconds were ticking. When a jeepney passed by I flagged it down. Better take a jeepney in formal attire rather than miss a critical appointment.
If a lady boss of a big multinational company in Thailand could get out of her limousine in the middle of heavy traffic to take a tuktuk (motorcycle taxi) so she could make it to an important appointment on time, why could I not take a jeepney? That lady was even in a gown while I was in a more comfortable and less delicate coat and tie.
I was able to make it on time to the resto and even to my court commitment.
So no cabs and parking spaces? Easy. Take the jeepney. This proposition, however, can be dicey in the case of residents of many parts of the city who have to endure long queues in the rain to get a jeepney ride.
You can see their snaking line even late at night during the rainy season in parking areas like those at the environs of Burnham Park at the parking spaces of jeepneysfor Camp 7, Bakakeng, Irisan, Mines View are found. For years they have been suffering and yet our talkative politicians failed to come up with any workable solution. Not even palliative ones.
As I have been saying over and over again the past many years, these are happening because the city is already bursting at the seams.
To get people to move out to outlying areas or stop them from flocking into the city, there should be economic opportunities outside..
There should be a national effort to develop areas like Rosario to become a city and also Buguias.
If the government was able to lead the establishment of the Fort Bonifacio Global city in just 20 years, then some areas outside but near Baguio could be developed to become bustling metropolitan areas in no time.
But all this will be for naught if the population will continue to grow exponentially. More so that the newcomers are often economically challenged.
In sum, economic decentralization must be achieved in juxtaposition with population control through moral and legal means.**