Incorrigible daylight cheaters PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 March 2016 14:30

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

The out-of-town tricycle driver whose regular business of ferrying passengers is at the public wharf most of the time to wait for boat passengers with connecting land travel to the city’s neighboring provinces, but committed a violation of the Fare Matrix Ordinance by overcharging his innocent lady passenger a thousand fold. From the normal fare of P100 maximum, the scum trike driver charged his lady passenger P 5,000 which is more than the fare going to Manila via commercial plane. The trike driver got away with his overcharging crime because when the police came to her rescue, she could not file the complaint, since her passenger bus is already leaving for the province. “When there is no complainant, there is no case” . This is the kind of justice in the Philippines, the democratic principle of “due process”. Other countries like China and some nations in the Middle East, that is qualified for a “swift justice”, because the culprit was “caught in the act” in committing the crime.

* * * *

What is unconscionable, if reports were true, the other day, another complaint of overcharging the same amount from the same place of origin up to the Integrated Bus Terminal (IBT) in Barangay Boalan,  committed by the same trike driver that was freed unscathed on his first offense, the “sonamagan trike driver” did the same scam again. This is not only ridiculous but disgraceful for the City of Zamboanga and the City Police, for not being able to stop,the presence of cheaters and hoodlum trike drivers, who prey on innocent transients going home from abroad passing by our city.

* * * *

Someone with authority and influence must be protecting and tolerating this “scam” and maybe perhaps, a mastermind in this crime of overcharging. City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar and city Police Director Magnaye must come to the rescue of innocent passengers at our public wharf who will actually relate their bad experience when they arrive in their respective place, and a “black eye” for the city, destroying our advertisements and propaganda to entice domestic tourists to make Zamboanga City part of their travel destination.

* * * *

If this overcharging trike driver will go free again on his second misdemeanor, something is wrong with our city police organization and not the City Ordinance on fare matrix or the City Government. Perhaps, it is high time that trike drivers are made to wear non-transferable identification cards (ID), like wharf porters and airport skycaps. this ID’s must be issued by the City Government and not the city police or the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Applicant drivers and not operators must possess valid addresses that is verifiable by the police warrant section and supported by references from their barangay officials, attesting that they are indeed residents of their barangays. For once the city must strictly address this problem of hoodlum trike drivers, because many of them are also involved in burglary and petty neighborhood thievery. Hoodlum trike drivers act as gateaway vehicles after a crime or are responsible to sell stolen items to “fences”.

* * * *

Some trike drivers who are “hoodlums” are alleged  drug couriers and users, street illegal gamblers, burglars, willing crime accomplices and worse, some of them are pimps of minor prostitutes. The City Police to save them from being dragged into this mess must randomly inspect all trike drivers in the city and ask them to produce police clearances from their place of origin, since most of them are “out of towners” and police should be honest and dedicated in this inspection and forget about “kinship” that exempts even the most notorious hoodlum trike driver, who is actually a criminal or a fugitive in his province.

* * * *

Politicians and candidates must never coddle or “baby” trike hoodlums, most of them are non voters in the city and their family members are not registered voters of the city, except for the very few law abiding trike drivers and operators, who are from Zamboanga City. Their numbers can just be counted with your fingers. The City Government and the City Police should act fast on this problem, before they become uncontrollable “monsters” in the city. .

* * * *

Scoop: The city and her law abiding citizens are fed up with all kinds of problem, from waste disposal, peace and order to street criminality. Most city residents who go and unwind after week of hard work are always on “red alert” and halfheartedly enjoy their bottle of beer in their favorite hang out with friends. When can we totally enjoy our cold bottle of beer and savor our “finger foods” and enjoy our social conversation with friends in a public restaurant?  This is our request and wish to our City Government officials and the City Police. Agree or disagree.