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A brief history of transport strikes – Part 3: advocacy and bandwagon

You see a lot of posts on social media stating people supporting the current transport strike. There are cartoons and memes that dramatize if not romanticize the plight of drivers. One cartoon I saw has a girl asking her driver-father if he will join the strike. The father replies he is unsure as they won’t have any income to cover their needs. One panel shows the driver’s cash box with graduation photos of what appear to be his other children. Of course, this suggests that the jeepney driver was able to support his children in their education while also suggesting about the uncertainties for the other child (who is in the comic). The comic obviously appeals to the emotions of the reader. It is a fallacy but one that is very close to and appeals to the psyche of the Filipino.

Another cartoon appears to be comparing modernization with replacing office computers. It states that the government’s modernization program is like an office requiring its employees to replace their old notebooks with high end ones. Only, the office is not paying for the new units and will have these charged to the employees’ salaries. I thought that was an oversimplification. Jeepneys are public utility vehicles  and not private. There are rules and regulations governing PUV acquisition, franchising and operations, unlike your typical office computer.

I think we should draw the line between advocacy and simply jumping onto the bandwagon that is supporting a transport strike without knowing and understanding the details about it. Otherwise, we end up giving unconditional support to what others will refer to as a backward public transportation system. There are always two sides to a coin and while there are good stories about the jeepney and how it has supported many families, there are also bad ones that have allowed them to remain practically unchanged over so many decades. The same applies to the opposition – those who call for a phase-out or outright modernization without understanding the terms given to drivers and operators and the overall context and situation regarding the modernization program. It is easy to take sides. The question is if you are aware and understand the details about the issues here.

Article on building support for walking and cycling infrastructure

There is another recent article on non-motorized transport (NMT). This is a good read and something that I think should be required for those who are little too serious or staunch about their advocacies.

Doyon, S. (2017) “Building support for walking and bicycling infrastructure”  Public Square, A CNU Journal, https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/11/11/building-support-walking-and-bicycling-infrastructure (Last accessed 11/11/2017)

I believe that if you want to convince people to appreciate and support your cause, you should not take the hardline. Instead, there should be a more persuasive process for wooing people. This is especially true in transportation and the advocacies for walking and cycling. You will not get a lot of support, for example, by condemning car users and telling everyone they should bike instead.

Safe steps – Road Safety

I would like to share on an initiative that’s close to my heart – road safety. I had been part of several road safety initiatives before and continue to be part of several today. I have also been doing research on pedestrian and cycling safety together with my students as part of our institute’s research agenda. Here is an example of very good promotional material on road safety including videos highlighting relevant statistics on safety that we should be aware of as well as encourage us to act and contribute towards safer roads for everyone.

Safe Steps – Road Safety

Featured in the videos is Road Safety Ambassador Michelle Yeoh, whom people might remember for the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” that now has sequel at Netflix. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting her many years ago when she was in Manila to speak on road safety at the Asian Development Bank’s Transport Forum. In fact, she visited the University of the Philippines Diliman to inaugurate the road safety and traffic discipline zone that is the campus core and along the Academic Oval. I had the privilege of driving her around the oval on an electric jeepney.