A commuter’s advocacy

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By Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph

Only a Meranaw

Sunday, August 24, 2014


TRAVELLING to work each day using public transports here in Marawi City helps me embrace the immense realities in the city.

Realities that harshly bite the consciousness of a layman not knowing why and how a social problem exists in the heart of the city, I presume.

One afternoon, riding a public transport from work to home, I had another chance to experience the menace of my afternoon travels -- Heavy traffic!

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Marawi City, like all other major cities in the country, experiences heavy traffic each day.

However, while other cities experience traffic due to the heavy urbanization happening in their cities, our Marawi experiences not urbanization but different kinds of “other reasons.”

In that very afternoon, while waiting for my jeepney to move, I have listed these knocking reasons:

1. A rush hour afternoon (people and vehicles travel from school, work and businesses to their homes);

2. Too many vehicles going in and out of the city;

3. Major streets in the city are too narrow for parkways and parking spaces;

4. Bottlenecks are too busy because of crossing loadings and unloading areas;

5. Marawi exit to Iligan via Mapandi bridge is under construction until today;

6. Assumed undisciplined drivers unloading, loading passengers, or parking their vehicles anytime, anywhere.

All these made me wonder and ask these questions: Where are the traffic enforcers? Why are drivers not following signs of NO ENTRY and NO LOADING areas? I might be missing a point here.

Out of repulsive curiosity, I opened a discussion with my co-commuters regarding this unresolved problem.

They all expressed the same reasons that I have and even pointed harsher and sarcastic observations.

I did not argue. I just listened.

One commuter said, “If only our government officials experience this peril, they will not wait for the next Sanggunian meeting to find solutions to this problem.”

I felt distressed upon hearing that. I wondered too if the government is really seeing this issue the way we do.

What is there in the city rules and regulations that we, the constituents of this Islamic city, must abide and adhere to?

I think I should visit the government offices in-charge and see what traffic ordinances are available.

For now, as a conscientious Muslim, I am determined to help and advocate social change in order for this city not to experience worst scenarios in the near future.

We should be reminded always of the Islamic teaching that we need to advocate what is right and forbid what is wrong.

Hence, if we are leaders of the society, let us not end our days without checking the realities happening around us and find solutions to possible problems arising from these realities.

If we are parents, let us include in our family time some inputs on how to be disciplined drivers or passengers who observe proper traffic rules.

If we are teachers, let us always integrate in our daily lessons some reminders for our students regarding dos and don’ts in loading and unloading, or even proper driving and parking for those who have their own motorbikes or vehicles.

If we are religious preachers, let us include in our daily sermons that being pious include being a disciplined driver or passenger.

If we are readers of this article, let us remind ourselves of what should we do while on streets.

If we can be disciplined drivers and passengers in other places, we could be better and more responsible in our own communities.

As stated in the Qur’an, “God will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Surah 13: Verse 11).

Indeed, all of us must advocate change. We are the only ones who can make our city a better place to live in.

[E-mail: sorlatipyusoph@gmail.com]

***

(Professor Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph is currently the chairperson of the Communication and Media Department, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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