Just the facts
In this law-and-order stronghold of President Duterte there are laws that are ignored and go unenforced, especially laws protecting law-abiding pedestrians and laws prohibiting jay walking. It may seem petty, but people die due to the lack of enforcement. Maybe, Mr. Duterte will begin to make the city safe for pedestrians. It makes sense because the more people walk instead of riding motor vehicles, the less pollution and health problems they will suffer from.
Some days ago, this foreigner was crossing the street in a crosswalk when an approaching taxi sped up instead of slowing down and nearly hit me; it would have hit me if I had not turned back suddenly, but still it grazed my arm, causing a slight wound. The taxi stopped and I thought he might apologize, but instead he claimed that I broke his mirror.
A policeman was called in to decide whether my arm or his mirror was the casualty, and we were taken to the Santa Ana Police Station where a discussion ensued with the taxi driver waving his broken mirror and the police and bystanders declaring that foreigners always get in the way, and then try to claim special treatment.
Meanwhile, dogs were in the police station eating road kill from the boulevard and threatening people. Prisoners in the jail were shouting, and I had to raise my voice to ask the police leadership to get the dogs out—my 2-year-old son was with me and was terrified of the dogs. The cops in turn began yelling at me, telling me not to raise my voice, and at one point were on the verge of arresting me for failing to pay them the proper respect.
In the end the wound on my arm was ignored and I had to pay for the taxi driver’s mirror or be charged with damage to property. Negative generalizations about foreigners accompanied every stage of the settlement, and I shall counsel my friends to avoid Davao City until the police give up their prejudices against foreigners and learn to act like professionals.
I come from California but have lived here for about six years. In California the pedestrian and bicycle rider get priority due to the pollution of the past. Because the leaders there have made walking and bicycling safe, the roads are less crowded and the air is cleaner… plus the walkers and riders are healthier.
Please write your mayor and ask that the crosswalks be repainted and policed, and that the laws against jay walking be enforced.
LANE ANDERSON, [email protected]
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