Monday, December 31, 2007

Just found out about this when I was looking up articles for today's traffic news roundup.

Anyway, did a search and found this article on Abante. seems like the TMG launched this project last October. So if you see a vehicle sporting blinkers, wangwangs, or other similar gadgets, you can text the plate number to 0928-3982873 or 0916-9660244.

Again, only the the following can use these gadgets on their duly-registered vehicles:
1. President of the Philippines
2. Vice President
3. Senate President
4. Speaker of the House
5. Chief Justice
6. Police
7. Ambulances

I suppose all Presidential Security Group vehicles are also allowed to use them, although they aren't on the list.

Kaya text-text na! Para mabawasan ang mga buwakaw dito sa 'pinas!

MMDA looking for a few good men
As a result of the early retirement of around 3,500 workers, the MMDA is set to hire around 4,000 new employees, including enforcers, engineers and construction workers. Sure hope the 3,500 includes slackers and kotong enforcers. Maybe they should consider hiring traffic analysts and industrial engineers as well, so they could better improve traffic flow.

PNCC strike tomorrow at the Skyway
Avoid the Skyway tomorrow morning, as employees of the PNCC are planning to stage a strike starting at 6am to protest the termination of some of their employees as a result of it's privatization.

TMG reports 2007 performance
According to this article, the TMG has done well this year cracking down on car thieves. It also says that they have confiscated 100 sirens, four blinkers and 116 fog lights because of the TMG’s Text Wangwang project.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just take a look at all these buses.
The ones on the right have been waiting for a few minutes. The one in the middle was trying to cut in to the right, but ended up loading and unloading right on that spot for at least three minutes. And the one on the left couldn't cut in so he stopped on the foot of the SLEX-bound lane of the flyover to load and unload. This was taken at around 2:30pm today.

When I finally got past these buses, I talked to the MMDA enforcer assigned there to complain. And all he can say was "kakarating ko lang dito galing sa HQ." I think his name was Carito or something like that. Useless.

If your car is pending registration, where's your conduction sticker?

Tama ba 'yan?
Anyway, these were taken last night on Ortigas Ave. heading towards Santolan at around 6pm.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Checkpoints for the New Year
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has announced that it will be setting up checkpoints throughout the metro starting 6pm today until New Year's eve, to guard against loose firearms and prohibited firecrackers. Unfortunately, there are no listings of where these checkpoints will be setup.

Parts Ayala and Makati Avenues to be closed
Starting 10pm tonight, parts of Ayala and Makati Avenues will be closed in preparation for the New Year's party to be held there on Monday. Make sure that you read the article 'cos they included some rerouting information for both private and public vehicles.

Oplan Isnabero a success
Around 1,440 taxi operators and drivers have been summoned by both the LTFRB and the LTO in response to complaints received under the Oplan Isnabero program. Again, instead of just concentrating on the holiday season, they should do this throughout the year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Here's another example of the ineffectivity of the MMDA's loading and unloading station. This time it's the Buendia-EDSA southbound one.

The commuters coming from Buendia usually wait right underneath the flyover 'cos the station is too far and there's no protection from the rains on the long walk to the station. Of course, passengers alighting from the buses also prefer to go down here.
So what's the MMDA going to do about this?

At the Guadalupe-EDSA southbound bus stop, the buses usually partially block the third lane while loading and unloading passengers. And these buses usually do this before the actual bus stop.
Again, where are the enforcers? They're supposed to prevent these buses from stopping before the bus stop and anywhere except on the outermost lane, and force commuters to go to the designated bus stops.

Saw this blinker-equipped Lockheed Security AUV heading northbound on EDSA earlier this evening. Is this allowed?
As far as I know, only duly-marked government vehicles and duly-registered emergency vehicles are allowed the use of blinkers.

Saw this vehicle (is it one of those old Toyota FJ-40's?) on EDSA earlier this evening. Walang plaka sa likod.
Kasama 'ata nung dalawang armored car, nasa gitna kasi nila

Here's my analysis of the faults of the MMDA's loading and unloading stations, using pics of the Santolan-EDSA northbound station from yesterday and today.

First, during rush hours, when private vehicles freely use the yellow lanes 'cos of the large volume of vehicles, more traffic is caused when these vehicles merge with the third lane to avoid going into the stations.
Next, since most commuters would want to avoid the long walk to and from the stations (most of these are quite a ways off from the intersections where they come from), the buses end up loading and unloading passengers after the station.Lastly, these buses now try to merge back into the non-yellow lanes in order for them to avoid the stoplight at the ground level (typical on EDSA northbound), causing more traffic on the lanes leading to the flyover and blocking the vehicles heading towards the ground level intersection.So, at this point, I don't really think it helps reduce traffic. In fact, it probably adds to it.

Now, if the MMDA somehow manages to force these buses to load and unload only at the stations, then that's when these stations will be an advantage. Well, except for the part where the private vehicles on the yellow lanes forcibly merge back to avoid them. Parang walang solusyon 'ata para d'yan.

Because of the high mortality rates in accidents involving motorcycles, two representations from congress has filed a bill to ban all motorcycles from all main roads, thoroughfares and national highways.

Part of me is rejoicing 'cos a lot of these riders are reckless, discourteous and have no idea on how to drive their bikes properly. Lane splitting, swerving, stopping on pedestrian lanes, driving on sidewalks, lack of or useless placement of side/rearview mirrors, no helmets, the list just goes on and on.

But a bigger part of me thinks that instead of banning them, they should work more on educating these riders, tightening the controls on issuing of licenses, increasing the focus on traffic enforcement for bike riders, and ensuring that all motorcycles sold have the appropriate safety equipment. And, while they're at it, they should also apply these to drivers of all other types of vehicles, whether they be cars, buses or trucks. Now that's the way to cut down on traffic fatalities.

Anyway, read the full article here.

The three oil firms announced a "special discount" of P1.00 for gasoline and P0.50 for diesel, effective December 26 to 31.

For Petron, however, the discount will only be carried by stations in "selected competitive trading areas". Where those areas are, I have no idea.

Anyway, Eastern Petroleum said that the recommended pump prices are now P43.57 for unleaded and P37.60 for diesel.

Kaya magpakarga na! Sayang din at baka di tumagal 'to!

To see the full article in Philippine Star, click here.

Just read that Pasay City is proposing to put up a school for traffic enforcers and investigators. This really is a good idea, assuming that the curriculum covers everything from traffic regulations to courtesy.

I think that this should really be an MMDA initiative. I know that the MMDA does not actually employ these "local" enforcers, but it would be a good idea to standardize the training of all enforcers across all the cities in the metro.

Anyway, here's the link to the article.

The article says that enforcers are only paid P254 per day. No wonder they're prone to corruption. One thing that they should realize is that if the enforcers do their job then the city cashes in on the fines, which they should then use to increase the pay of these people. That should help bring down corruption in their ranks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just look at this JS Liner (tama ba?) bus. The merging traffic leading to the underpass is already really bad, with at least four full lanes merging into three, nadagdagan pa ng ulol na 'to.
Where are all the MMDA enforcers who hang around this place?

That is, according to MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando.

Has it really? What do you think?

Check out the article here.

But only from 10pm of New Year's eve until 6am of New Year's day. This is actually an annual thing for them, and they do this for Christmas, New Year's and Good Friday.

Was supposed to post this before Christmas, but I wasn't sure what time they raise the bars. Remembered about it when I saw this article, so I'm posting it now.

So if you've always wanted to pass the Skyway, this is the time to do it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Finally! They've decided to construct an overpass at the Bicutan Interchange! Not only are they building one right in front of the SM Bicutan exit (the one on the corner)...
...but they're building a second one on the west side of the Interchange too (yung sa may palengke).
Tingin ko sobrang laking tulong nito sa pagbawas ng trapiko dito. Kaya, salamat sa MMDA!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Updated list, compiled this from this thread on's forum.

Valid until December 31, 2007

Valid until June 1, 2008

Valid until July 31, 2008

Valid until December 3, 2008

Valid until December 31, 2008

Valid until December 31, 2008

Valid until December 31, 2008

Valid until December 31, 2008

Not really sure what happened to the Assumption College one, so don't quote me on this one.

Anyways, there are some rules included in the thread, so I suggest you read it by following the link.

Noticed that a lot of people have been googling about coding for the holidays. Since GMA has declared the 24th, and the 31st as public holidays, coding will be suspended during these days. Obvioiusly, the same is true for the 25th and the 1st.

As for the 26th 'til the 28th, no announcements have been made as of yet, so the presumption is coding will be in effect during those days.

Have a happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Task force nabs 386 illegal PUVs, 24 extortionists
Great! Nabawasan na ng sasakyan, pati buwaya na din!

NLEX ready for the holidays
25% more cars! Good thing I'm just staying in Metro Manila. In fact, traffic was already light this afternoon. Sana palaging ganito na lang.

MMDA to put "giggle strips" on EDSA
Is that what they're called? I've always referred to them as lagalags, 'cos that's the sound you hear when you go over them.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Did you know that there is a pending bill at the Senate to ban the use of low-numbered vanity (or protocol or courtesy) plates for all government officials below the president?

Here's an extract from the bill's cover page:

The Mandate of The Constitution cannot be over-emphasized. ”Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

Many high ranking government officials and middle-level bureaucrats today roam our streets like members of royalty in heavily tinted vehicles sporting low-numbered car plates. They evoke a false impression that these favored few are exempt and insulated from the reach of traffic rules and regulations.

These low-numbered car plates smack of delusions of grandeur.

There is no legitimate reason for ranking government officials to be accorded this kind of special privilege. Since they are public servants, they should be at the forefront in observing road regulations that are to be followed by all. They should lead by example.

Click here to see the bill in full detail. And here's the link to the Executive Order governing the irissuance.

Dapat 'ata ma-prioritize 'to ng senado at kongreso. It's small changes such as these that will show the people that these lawmakers are really serious in making life better for their constituents, not just for themselves. Leadership by example should be their new motto!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Compiled this from a thread on's forum.

Valid until March 10, 2008

Valid until June 2008

Valid until December 3, 2008

Valid until December 8, 2008

Valid until April 2008

For the uninformed, note that having commemorative plates DOES NOT exempt the vehicle from number coding.

According to this article on the Inquirer today, a patient died because the ambulance got stuck in traffic on EDSA. Apparently, the ambulance overheated 'cos of the traffic it went through.

Traffic may be bad, pero medyo-OA 'ata.

The really tragic thing about this was that the ambulance broke down right across the QCPD Kamuning Station 10, but the police couldn't help them because THEY DID NOT HAVE THE KEYS TO THE POLICE CAR! Watta stupid!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Passed the Santolan-Benitez intersection last night and got caught on this stupid traffic jam. Took around 15 mins for me to get past it, which is pretty bad considering that I was around 150 meters away when I first stopped.
Wala kasi talagang bigayan, kelangan ma-una palagi. Kelan ba matututong magbigayan ang mga pinoy? This really is the number one failing of Filipinos.

Saw this car on EDSA Northbound at around 1:49pm.

The MMDA is planning to install microchips on buses which will allow them to monitor the vehicle's location and speed. Supposedly, this will help them smoothen traffic flow on major roads.

Click here to read the full article on GMANews.TV.

Aside from making it slightly easier to catch colorum buses, pa'no kaya makakabawas sa trapik 'to?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Found this old editorial on the Inquirer, lamenting the state of our nation when it comes to traffic. This was written a few days after the tragic accident involving the Saguisags.

Sorry for posting the whole thing, but it tackles so many of the issues that plague us everyday that it was too difficult to provide a summary or selective quotes.

Tragic reminder

Last updated 01:27am (Mla time) 11/11/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Party and political affiliations were set aside in sympathy, following the tragic accident that cost the life of Dulce Saguisag and left her husband Rene fighting for his life in a hospital. It is no exaggeration to say that the country united in grief over the passing of Dulce, and continues to follow with keen concern the medical condition and recovery of Rene himself.

Truly we are a compassionate people; also a people who are driven to take stock of the problems that such tragedies starkly remind us of. In this case, the behavior of motorists.

A near-total absence of road courtesy has long been the bane of motorists, commuters and pedestrians alike. And the public has constantly bewailed the low quality of driver education. Likewise, the opportunistic—instead of fair and consistent—application of driving laws, invoked for the financial benefit of local governments and individual policemen and traffic aides, has been a cause of constant frustration and the continuing erosion of respect for law enforcers.

As exasperating, if not more, is the fact that the use, or abuse, of police power and the selective application of regulations start from the top and extend all the way to the bottom. All sorts of executive issuances exist limiting the use of sirens and police escorts to only a few officials, but even those officials entitled to such escorts violate the law. How many presidential and Cabinet convoys have we seen that include cars that don’t even have license plates? How many officials not entitled to escorts do we encounter weaving in and out of traffic—or causing traffic themselves, or engaging in counter-flows—on a daily basis? No official could possibly be in such a rush all the time, particularly during peak traffic hours when the rest of the citizenry patiently endures the congestion of our roads.

And when it comes to official plates which, besides being a sign of rank, are supposed to have the practical purpose of informing the public of what officials are up to and where they’re going, how many vehicles with such plates are used by the wives and children of officials, with neither the public nor school authorities penalizing such abuse?

The list goes on and on, down to the spotty implementation of laws requiring the use of seatbelts and prohibiting cell phone use while driving, as well as laws on the clear marking of license plate numbers on motorcycle helmets and anti-smoke belching ordinances; not to mention archaic laws such as the penal code prohibition on citizens sorting out traffic jams because it constitutes “usurpation of authority.”

It is only government that has the power to issue driver’s licenses and land transport franchises. But we have rampaging buses on the roads, because of the promiscuous awarding of franchises without imposing regular schedules at bus stops. The result, particularly at night: buses racing against each other as drivers compete for passengers with murderous results. Add to this the problem of drug addiction among bus drivers.

These perils become magnified once darkness falls, with major thoroughfares unlit, traffic lights permanently put on yellow out of laziness, signs that are either obscure or unhelpfully placed, enforcers absent from the streets—again, the catalogue is endless, and the miseries are constant yet unnoticed precisely because they’re so commonplace. Until the prominent become affected.

There should be no contradiction between the desire of people to drive for a living, the different kinds of transportation required, the government’s licensing power, and the expectation from commuters, drivers and pedestrians alike that some sort of order and reason can exist on our streets, throughout the land, at any time of the day.

But this requires a fundamental adherence to public service. This means officials showing courtesy to the public on the road, and this starts with government ensuring that only those who are qualified get to drive, and that those who drive for a living do so for wages and for periods of time that do not challenge the limits of their physical and mental endurance.

But it seems that the prevalent attitude treats vehicles and drivers only as objects to be extorted from, at licensing or for traffic violations.

Took this while riding on a jeep on Pasong Tamo heading towards EDSA this morning.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Talagang iniiwasan ng mga bus dumaan sa mga 'to. Here are a few pics:




Check out this bike cop. He ran the red light at EDSA-Santolan at around 2:54pm.

Tingin muna.

And off he goes!

And check out his plate number. Iba talaga!

Since I started driving again, I was surprised to see that the use of tinted plate covers have gone down tremendously. Pero meron pa rin konting matitigas ang ulo, kagaya nito'ng Hyundai Starex.
This was taken around 2:49pm, heading northbound on EDSA right beside the Ortigas MRT station.

Here are a couple of pictures showing how the buses coming down the Magallanes flyover swerve to the right to load and unload passengers, well before the actual bus stop (which is where the waiting shed is located).
If you take a look at the second pic, you'll see that these buses block off four of the lanes.

The LTO has reimplemented their Oplan Isnabero campaign in light of the Christmas season. So, if you encounter any taxi driver that refuses to take you on for whatever reason, just report them through the LTO hotline at 0927-9366777.

Click here to view the news item at ABS-CBN News.

This is good news for commuters. But I hope that this program runs throughout the whole year, instead of just during the holidays.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Are these things really helping reduce traffic on EDSA?
The buses try to avoid them for some reason. And commuters think they're too far and prefer waiting near the intersections. And don't even get me started on those yellow lane-passing cars that swerve to avoid these at the last minute.

If the traffic enforcers do their jobs and force the buses to use these stations, then maybe, just maybe, it'll improve things. But at the rate things are going, malabong-malabo 'yon.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A bus rammed the center island and several vehicles late yesterday morning at the Coastal Road in Paranaque. Again, defective brakes were to blame. Buti na lang walang namatay, at least as of press time.

Calling LTFRB! Calling LTO! Please do your jobs! Or does their charter not include ensuring public safety for the country's commuters?

Here are a couple of news links on this, one from the Inquirer, and another from GMA News.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The UVVRP (or number coding, color coding at kung anu-ano pang coding) has been suspended in the metro today 'cos of the ongoing transport strike.

As usual, Makati is the exception. Maarte talaga. Hehehe.

Here's the link to the article on the Inquirer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Found this old news item (care of Wangwang Patrol) on PNP's drive against the illegal use of sirens, blinkers and TMG stickers. This was aired last August 14, 2007 on Live on Q

Anyway, the key quote here is: "Pati raw mga mambabatas at government officials maliban sa sasakyan ng pangulo ay bawal magkabit ng wangwang at blinkers."

Traffic should be a bit lighter tomorrow 'cos of the planned transport strike. Unless, of course, that the strikers take to the streets.

According to an article from today's Inquirer, "the brunt of the strike will be felt in designated rally centers: The Alabang City terminal, Cubao in Quezon City; Ever Grand Central in the Monumento area, Kalayaan corner Kamias and Philcoa in Quezon City, Aduana Circle, Manila South Harbor; beside the Taytay Public Market in Rizal province and Novaliches Bayan."

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Here's an excerpt from the article published on today's Inquirer:

MANILA, Philippines -- At the risk of being called the Grinch, Manila administrators said Monday they are banning Christmas carolers from the capital's streets because they disrupt traffic.

"The plan, controversial as it might be, is not done out of whim but rather for the safety of the children and the motorists," said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief Bayani Fernando, citing an incident last year in which a child caroler was run over by a speeding vehicle.

To see the full article, click here.

Will this lessen traffic? Probably, but just a little.

Will it make the roads safer? Yeah, I suppose so.

But, at the very least it will reduce irritants, especially when the so-called carolers are really harassing beggars, or worse yet, thieves, in disguise.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Five separate accidents caused by two trucks and three buses, resulting in five deaths and sixty injured, all in one day at the NLEX. And the best they can do is advise these truck and bus drivers to check their vehicles before they travel?!?

Check out the Inquirer article here.

The LTO and LTFRB should really take a proactive stance in making sure that these truck and bus companies maintain their vehicles properly. Inspections should be expanded to include vehicle condition and roadworthiness, and frequency should be increased to at least every six, or better yet, every three months. In fact, they should also include all public utility vehicles in this program. This will also give them a chance to trim down on the number of public utility vehicles, especially those traveling on EDSA.

How many people have to die before the government does something about this?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bilib ako. Despite that large LTO sticker in the back, these MMDA enforcers still pulled over this vehicle for a yellow lane violation.
But if that email describing MMDA guidelines was true (which has been going around for some time), then why are these two enforcers together, when they're supposed to be on solo patrol?

These buses swerve three to four lanes to get to the corner right after the entrance of Dasmarinas Village, just dangerously missing vehicles coming from SLEX and Pasong Tamo. Then these buses stop at the second and third lanes to let out and pick up commuters. So those vehicles coming from SLEX and Pasong Tamo are then forced to swerve two to three lanes just to avoid these buses. It's like a house of dominoes!
When, oh, when will the MMDA do something about this?!?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Inquirer published an article today about MMDA's directive to suspend all road diggings in the metro during the holiday season, from Dec. 7 to Jan. 12. Here's the link.

Ang tanong ngayon ay pa'no naman kung di pa tapos yung kanilang ginagawa? Maiiwan bang butas-butas yung mga kalye? 'E kung isang araw na lang, matatapos na yung kanilang proyekto? Papahintuin pa ba?

Sana naman maglabas ng matinong
guidelines para siguradong makakatulong itong suspension sa mga taong bayan.

Check out the site.

Seems like they have a better chance at succeeding since they have an "organization" behind their efforts. They're funny, too.

So let's support them and pray for the best!

P.S. Unfortunately, it seems that the site hasn't been updated since August. Sayang naman.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Got this via email from one of my egroups last week. Seems like this has been going around egroups, blogs and forums for some time.

No confirmation on whether these are true, but Mr. Antonio Pagulayan (Jr.) has been listed on an old article on the MMDA's website as the TOC Head for Roadside Arbitration and Personnel Inspection, as well as in a more recent article from Sun Star Baguio.


I just reached my limit last weekend, and decided to take action against the abusive MMDA enforcers. I basically called up the MMDA head office and inquired from the Personnel Officer, Antonio Pagulayan, to clarify their policies. Here is what I got.

If any of these abuses seem familiar to you, Mr. Pagulayan has asked that you call either the MMDA hotline (136) or call the Metro Base at 0920-9389861 or 0920-9389875 and ask for an Inspectorate. They will send inspectors to the place where these MMDA officers are extorting, even while you are arguing out of your apprehension.

1. MMDA officers are not allowed to group together in order to apprehend. They are not even allowed to stand together in groups of 2 or more. The only time they are allowed to work together is for special operations (probably when they apprehend groups of buses for smoke belching).

2. Swerving
IS NOT a traffic violation. Moving one lane to the left or right is not swerving, no matter where on the road you do it. And it is even less of a violation when you do it with a signal. Swerving is defined as shifting 2 or more lanes very quickly. So you can argue your way out of this, and call the Metro Base for help.

3. Sadly, using the yellow lane is a traffic violation and will get you a ticket. However, buses are really not allowed to go out of the yellow lane, so if you see selective apprehension of private cars only, you may complain.

4. MMDA has confirmed that your license
MAY NOT BE CONFISCATED at a traffic apprehension. The only time they can do so is if you are part of an accident, or if it is your third violation and you have not settled your fines yet. They are only allowed to give you a ticket, which you can contest. He recommends actually receiving the ticket in some instances, so that you can report the officer who did it.

5. Also, you are free to ask any of these officers for their "mission order", which is written by their supervisor. If they apprehend you for a violation that is not in their mission order for the day, you can report them and they will receive disciplinary action.

So go out and fight for your rights if and when the occasion arises!

TIP: Print and keep a copy of this email in your car for future reference

Monday, November 19, 2007

Here is a very interesting article on the Inquirer regarding the Filipino's attitude towards driving.

For Filipino drivers, traffic lights are mere suggestions
By Tessa Salazar
Last updated 05:13am (Mla time) 11/18/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- As the story goes, when Formula 1 driver Jenson Button visited Manila a few years ago, he quipped: “I can see lots of Formula 1 driving out here.”

Button’s wry observation has been echoed by many first-time visitors to Metro Manila. How can Filipinos, known for being hospitable, generous and caring, be transformed into road bullies when behind the wheel?

Mandy Eduque, Automobile Association Philippines director, likes to quote an Australian traffic consultant of a public works project who made this stunning observation: For Filipino drivers, traffic lights are merely “a suggestion.”

Dr. Jose Regin Regidor, director of the UP National Center for Transportation Studies, blames it on impatience. Combined with the “Filipino time” attitude of doing things at the last minute, this forces drivers—of both public and private vehicles—to resort to overly aggressive driving.

Lack of education and training could be another factor, he adds. “There’s this misconception that only public transport drivers are at fault. But in reality, the public utility and truck drivers are more predictable in their behavior [compared] to many private drivers who are barumbado (reckless).”

Regidor adds that road bullies exist because other drivers allow themselves to be intimidated. “If you see a luxury car or an SUV tailgating you, you would most probably give way. And that car wouldn’t even have to flash his headlights.”

Surprisingly, these bully drivers are usually educated and accomplished individuals. “But once they get behind the wheel, their personality changes, they have an alter ego. I agree, some people imagine themselves as F1 drivers [on public streets],” Regidor says.

He adds that aggressive driving also applies to motorcyclists who express their “impatience” by weaving in and out of lanes.

Traffic rules

Generally speaking, Filipinos find it difficult to follow traffic rules.

Conforming to traffic rules is determined by the visibility of enforcers and the “mood” of other motorists at any particular time.

Dr. Edgardo Juan L. Tolentino, president of the Group for Addiction Psychiatry of the Philippines, says when there are no law enforcers at an intersection, drivers interpret a yellow traffic light as a signal to “hurry up,” hence they go faster.

“But if there’s a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcer or policeman at the intersection, when drivers see a yellow light, they slow down or stop,” he says.

Tolentino adds that in more developed countries, drivers inherently follow traffic rules, whether or not traffic officers are present.

Accident contributory factor

Dr. Felicitas Soriano, Philippine Psychiatry Association president, says Filipinos have a “destructive culture” when it comes to traffic rules and regulations.

She cites the value of lamangan or isahan (putting one over the other) as part of the Filipino driver’s psyche. In this situation, traffic rules and regulations are thrown out the window.

Aurora Corpuz Mendoza, a psychologist who did a study on road safety last year, says “there is growing recognition that road user behavior is now the most important single accident contributory factor, with 85 percent of road accidents in the Philippines caused by driver error or violations.”

Mendoza is with the Psychology department of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

Risk factors

Her study investigated the behavior of 334 public jeepney and private drivers in different areas of Metro Manila. Three violations were most prevalent: Illegal counterflow, failure to give way while turning, and tailgating.

There were three risk factors: Behavior of other drivers, the presence or absence of traffic enforcers, and perceived road/vehicle conditions.

According to Mendoza’s study, factors that influenced driver behavior included driver’s age, gender, education, driver type, risk-taking personality, perceived risks of traffic violations, acceptance of risk for traffic violations, the social environment that includes the drivers and traffic enforcers, the vehicle, and the physical environment or the road, and weather conditions.

Results showed that drivers more likely to commit traffic violations were young, male, operating public transport and with low levels of education.

Social environment

Data also showed that drivers were more likely to commit traffic violations if they don’t see any traffic enforcer.

Mendoza says the behavior of other people present in a traffic environment provides a social construct of reality that can reduce personal uncertainty on what behavior is safe and what is risky.

The study also showed that drivers without college degrees had significantly stronger intentions to commit traffic violations compared to college graduates.

Mendoza says that this finding is “noteworthy because it points to the importance of a college education, in the local setting, to driver decisions to violate rules.”

Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.