'Para! sa Pilipinas' road safety campaign launched

This is an advisory from DAKILA:

MANILA, Philippines – On the first anniversary of the GV Florida bus crash in Bontoc on Saturday, February 7, 2015, the group DAKILA, co-founded by Tado Jimenez, one of the 15 casualties of the bus crash, launched Para! Sa Pilipinas.

Para! Sa Pilipinas is a road safety campaign which taps into the power of commuters to hold transport operators and government agencies accountable for providing comfortable, dependable, environment-friendly, affordable and, above all, safe public transportation.

According to Micheline Rama, Creative and Strategy Director of DAKILA, “The cornerstone of this campaign is the Para! Po reporting tool, which empowers commuters to report whether or not the operators of the bus they are riding, have complied with existing rules and regulations." 

Smoke-belching, lack of visible plates, reckless driving, obstruction of traffic, overloading are the violations that commuters can report on using the Para! Po tool. 

"Right now, it is geared towards monitoring of public utility buses (PUBs) operating in metro and provincial lines nationwide, but will hopefully soon be adapted to other forms of land transportation," Rama said.

More than just a complaint mechanism, the tool can also monitor compliance and identify exemplary bus lines. "As the reports come in, we'll be able to track the performance of bus operators and share information back to the public. Commuters will soon be able to patronize well-rated bus lines, and avoid those with negative reviews.” Rama added.

Remembering the victims

The launch of the campaign coincided with the first anniversary of the GV Florida bus crash, which claimed the lives of 15 people on February 7, 2014. Among those who were killed was artist-activist Arvin Jimenez, more popularly known as the comedian, Tado.

DAKILA Executive Director, Leni Velasco said the campaign itself was conceptualized to honor and continue the fight for Tado’s advocacy on road safety. "There is no better way of paying tribute to the life of Tado than to continually seek for reforms in the transportation system so that this kind of tragedy will not happen again," Velasco added.

On February 4, families and friends of those who perished and survived in the bus crash in Bontoc gathered at Sev’s Café Malate to commemorate the first anniversary of the crash. Among those who offered performances during the event were Noel Cabangon, Vice President of DAKILA, musician Nityalila, and Burn Belacho, guitarist of David Sicam’s band Kinaiya.

Families and friends of the victims also organized similar events on February 7 for David Sicam and Gerard Baja at Ta-as Café, and last February 8 for Chris Cabardo at Cabino Bar. A bike tour was held on February 7 in Marikina City for Tado. A ritual and mass was also held at the crash site in Bontoc.

At the same event, DAKILA President Lourd de Veyra and filmmaker Jim Libiran performed spoken word from an excerpt of “100 Must Do of Tado Before He Dies” taken from Tado’s book, "Nagiisa Lang Ako."

DAKILA will be sharing the Para! Po information to the LTFRB and the bus operators themselves so that they will be made aware of feedback direct from ordinary commuters. 

A beta version of the tool was made available on Monday, February 9. Micheline Rama in ending said, “We encourage commuters and concerned citizens to contribute their reports, as well as provide any feedback on the tool to help the team continue to optimize and improve it over the coming weeks. We'll also be rolling out additional information and features as the campaign progresses.” - Rappler.com 

To learn more about the campaign, check out ParaSaPilipinas.ph. The public may submit their own report at ParaPo.ph