Unsafe streets

NOW that the Philippine National Police has been relieved of its anti-drug duties, perhaps it can focus its substantial resources on making our streets truly safe.

Earlier this month, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa twitted all the critics of the administration, calling them ingrates who should be thanking the police for the “better peace and order they enjoyed.

But now we invite the police chief to say that with a straight face to the four children of Gerardo Amolato Maquidato Jr., a GrabCar driver who was shot dead by carjackers posing as passengers on the evening of Oct. 26 in Pasay City —the sixth such incident against Grab drivers this year.

The murderers fled in Maquidato’s silver Innova.

Maquidato’s death was doubly tragic because he exemplified what we all hope public utility drivers would be—honest, courteous and kind.

In announcing his death, Grab Philippines paid tribute to their driver-awardee.

“Our prayers and sympathies go out to Mr. Maquidato’s family. He was a good father to his four children, a good friend to many of his fellow drivers, and a good driver who was always willing to outserve his passengers,” the company said in a statement.

Maquidato gained recognition on social media last year when he picked up a diabetic patient on her way to pick up bags of blood for her dialysis, then did not charge her out of kindness.

An initial police report said that a witness heard a gunshot at 7:50 p.m., on Oct. 26 and then saw a lifeless man pushed out a silver Toyota Innova by unidentified suspects along Bonanza Street in Pasay.

Grab said it is working closely with the PNP Highway Patrol Group to resolve the cases, and added that it is taking steps to come up with a technology-based solution that would reduce the chances of carjacking attempts against their driver-partners.

To date, however, we have heard little from the PNP itself.

The carjackers have proved themselves ruthless, all too ready to kill the driver before taking his vehicle. The crime is committed, not against a large company, but against an individual partner of Grab who makes a living using his own vehicle—and his own labor.

Moreover, in attacking transport network vehicle services such as Grab, these criminals are dealing a serious blow to an industry that offers Filipinos a safe and civilized way of getting around the city, in an otherwise broken transport system marked by unsafe commuter trains, and undisciplined jeepney, bus and taxi drivers.

The police have proved themselves equal to the small-time drug pushers who have been killed by the thousands; can they stand up to carjackers who can actually shoot back?

Topics: Editorial , Unsafe streets , Philippine National Police , PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa , anti-drug
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