Iloilo City, its traffic, officials, and pedestrians (3)

(The author is a real person who fell in love with Iloilo. He wants to remain anonymous due to some “complications” but still, he raises very valid issues)

After having spent a few weeks in Northwest Europe with friends of the past, I was shocked about the still poor implementation of the country’s “Pedestrian Protection Act of 2013” in Iloilo City, especially after the recent incident which killed a husband and wife while trying to cross Diversion Road on a crosswalk (pedestrian crossing).

The county’s “Pedestrian Protection Act of 2013” is very similar to the laws in other countries. However, one will notice a much stricter implementation than in Iloilo City. Do other counties have maybe a higher regard/ respect for human life?

Here are the main points of the Pedestrian Protection Act of 2013, clarifying how to behave/ act as a pedestrian and as a driver of a motor-driven vehicle:

  1. Where sidewalks are provided pedestrians shall, unless required by other circumstances, walk along the sidewalks. Where no sidewalks are provided, pedestrians should walk on the side of a public road facing the traffic.
  2. The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk (pedestrian crossing) where a sign so indicates shall stop and remain stopped, to allow a pedestrian to cross the road. However, no pedestrian should walk into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
  3. When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, to allow a pedestrian to cross the road, no other vehicle should overtake the stopped vehicle.
  4. A pedestrian may not cross an intersection diagonally.
  5. Persons found guilty in violation of the above shall be penalized with a fine between PhP 1,000 and 5,000 or imprisonment between 1 month and 1 year.
  6. It shall be the duty of the LGU concerned and the DPWH to provide sidewalks in public roads.

Examining the above items, the following are my observations:

  1. Where sidewalks are provided, they are too often occupied by parking cars, despite City Ordinances forbidding it, or they are in a very poor state, causing risk to one’s health.
  2. 2. This point seems to be NOT applicable to most drivers. These drivers just blow the horn and then it is up to the pedestrian to stay alive or not.

2-4. The best example for the non-compliance with the Pedestrian Protection Act by all parties is maybe the intersection at Jaro Plaza where pedestrians, including TRAFFIC AIDES, cross from all directions like a bunch of “headless chicken”, adding to the confusion are the jeepneys, taxis and private vehicles.

Well, how is a “Pedestrian Protection Act” being handled in others countries? A crosswalk (pedestrian crossing) is normally fitted with a stoplight, which gives the ‘GO’ or ‘STOP’ signal for cars and pedestrians alike. Only at such crosswalks should pedestrians cross the street.

Would this work in Iloilo City?  I honestly doubt it because A) people in Iloilo don’t like to walk even ONE additional meter for anything, B) the authorities would for sure NOT penalize such a violation C) there are too many “colorblind” people in Iloilo.

Would there be some kind of a solution to this problem where cars kill pedestrians or people taking shortcuts, cutting their lives short as it happened on the diversion road and in front of the Alta Tierra subdivision entrance?

Yes, I believe so, but it also would need a lot of willingness from all parties, drivers, pedestrians, and officials. TMTRO should start a campaign to place more traffic aides at several pedestrian crossings (not only temporarily and near schools, but through-out Iloilo City) and educate pedestrians and drivers to follow the Pedestrian Protection Act.

After a lengthy campaign period drivers & pedestrians should be fined according to their violations.