EDITORIAL: How Safe are Jeepney Rides?

Now-a-days, especially with the opening of classes, schoolchildren taking jeepney rides are often exposed to the proliferation of pickpockets, snatchers and unscrupulous elements in jeepneys and buses out to deprive the innocent pupils and students in some overcrowded vehicles and passenger jeepneys who become easy targets of vultures who employ all kinds of lawlessness, victimizing both the young and the old commuters on their way to school, the offices and work places, even in market places, the malls or shopping areas, anytime of the day or night.

Most of the victims, notably the young ones would rather keep quiet and suffer the consequences of their misfortunes rather than bother themselves to go to the police stations to complain, knowing the futility of going through the trouble of going back and forth, realizing the low batting average of policemen recovering lost money, valuables or any thing of value such as wallets or cellphones, watches, necklaces and the like.

Everybody knows that every time one takes a ride in passenger jeepneys in Bacolod for instance, should be aware that there’s always the possibility that a con man sitting beside you could possibly be someone who will do every kind of tricks, dropping a few coins, distracting co-passengers or distracting one’s attention and suddenly with a slick of the hand to pick one’s wallet and valuables including very important papers or documents, ID cards, even passports, PhilHealth cards, Senior Citizen’s cards, ATM cards and the like, lost forever, with just the wink of an eye.

Apparently, losses like these, to the average citizen, the students and employees especially, are little things but they mean a lot that owners are often willing to pay a handsome reward if returned to the rightful owner, but with little or more often than not, no success at all.

Even in big cities like Manila, this has worried the authorities that move that are afoot that bus marshals will soon be proposed to regularly board vehicles to check on the ubiquitous pick pockets or even holdup men victimizing the hapless bus or jeepney commuters to add miseries to the already over-burdened travellers.

Bacolod and Negros authorities should do the same, considering taken together, losses among innocent commuters are estimated at thousands every day, even millions every week or month.

We hope this can be solved in earnest as soon as the no-nonsense Duterte or Rody anti-crime operatives start their nationwide cleanup drive against recidivists who pounce upon the poorest of the poor Filipinos who rely on rickety jeepneys in the countrysides for daily trips. Until then, they will always be victims of criminal elements, especially in jeepneys, unless the photos of the in corrigible pickpockets are prominently posted on the passenger vehicles for everyone to identify them and for jeepney drivers or the marshals to turn them over to the proper law enforcers and police authorities to face prosecution for the untold miseries they have caused the Filipino commuters all these years.*(RGT)