Road rage killer says sorry: That’s it?

IT HAS been said once before and it is said again: traffic does kill.

I am not only referring to the dangerous fumes discharged by some not-so-well-maintained public transportation and the stress of having to wait a little while longer in traffic jams but more specifically to the recent road rage incident in Quiapo, Manila that snuffed the life out of a biker after being shot in the head by an Army reservist following a road altercation.

Some hotheads, fueled by arrogance, especially on the part of Army reservist Vhon Martin Tanto who was armed being a serviceman, as well as some people from well-to-do families, think they can get away with such behavior.

Tanto’s action, whatever the reason was that prompted it, is unacceptable. Instead of aiming his firearm against enemies of the state and against criminals, he trained and fired his gun at a person whose welfare he was supposed to be protecting.

Here’s the kicker: Tanto apologized to victim Mark Vincent Garalde’s mother. “Sorry po talaga. Hindi ko sinasadya.”

Sorry. Sorry? That’s it? This man shot and killed a person. Sorry? From the looks of the incident that was captured by a closed circuit television – that I presume suspect Tanto did not know about that has gone viral on the internet – the suspect did not even flinch when he shot the victim. Going straight at him, gun in hand, and shooting him at close range. In the head. And then again, after the victim flopped on the side of the road from the first shot.

There was the intent to kill. He was armed and he knew it. So he had the gun there with the intention of using it against whatever and whoever. It was just unfortunate that a biker, unarmed, and as the suspect claim had provoked him, was at the receiving end.

What does the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), human rights activists, advocates and all those concerned over the recent spate of killings of alleged and suspected drug pushers and whatnot, including the “angal-ysts” have to say about this?

There is now talk about bike lanes. Let’s see how they work this out.

***

My friend and fellow columnist Rendy Isip posed a question to me recently that caught my interest.

Local governments have been building pedestrian overpasses to help, and ensure the safety of, people crossing the streets and in some cases, busy and fast highways.

But, he asked, why don’t the overpasses have roofs? Yeah. What’s up with that? Quite an interesting observation.

Budgetary constraints? Or some other reason? Could this please be explained or at least be addressed? People need as much protection from the elements as they do from speeding vehicles as they make their way to the other side of the road, don’t you think?

***

President Duterte, as early as his first Cabinet meeting conducted immediately after his inauguration as the 16th president of the Philippines, suggested the transfer of some domestic and international flights to the Clark International Airport (IATA: CRK) to decongest Metro Manila of vehicular and air traffic.

Reportedly, there are already moves to realize this statement. What with the available slots at the Clark airport during a lull in operations, particularly in the afternoon that, according to Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Emigdio “Dino” Tanjuatco III, can accommodate from 7 to 10 scheduled and well-coordinated flights.

So this early too, the traffic along M. A. Roxas Highway, the main thoroughfare leading to the Clark Freeport Zone, should be addressed and organized. Quite some heavy traffic has been experienced by motorists coming to and from the Clark Freeport during the rush hour that could get meaner, or nastier, when some flights are transferred to the Clark airport.

The same goes for the streets inside the Clark Freeport. Maybe some traffic lights could be tweaked to make the time longer for vehicles passing through the main thoroughfares to avoid this problem.

Here’s an idea: what if the traffic going around the Bayanihan Park went only one way? This was actually the original idea for the traffic around the Bayanihan Park. Barriers installed in the streets could help direct traffic instead of traffic enforcers. And drivers of public utility jeepneys should also be educated and provided the proper loading and unloading areas.

I think this would make for a smoother flow of traffic from Clark going to either Dau or Angeles City and vice versa. The
Clark-Mabalacat-Angeles Road, the road being constructed beside the SM City Clark mall, is nearing completion and could be used to ease the traffic somewhat.

Anyway, the Angeles City Local Government will be conducting a Traffic Summit that could address all these concerns. I hope all stakeholders will be involved. After all, the stakeholders stand to benefit from the smooth flow of traffic.