'A Walk to Remember': Pedestrians walk for safer roads
MANILA, Philippines – In support for Jacinta Coote, a victim of a road accident that nearly killed her in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) on May 12, around 220 people attended the "Family Walk for Pedestrian Safety" event on Saturday, June 26 in BGC.
The walk was organized to raise awareness for pedestrian safety, especially for those who live in the city and for drivers who are often not mindful of the harm they can cause when they over speed or disobey traffic rules.
Families who reside in BGC and surrounding communities, as well as employees of offices in BGC, participated in the event.
Jacinta Coote, an Australian living in the Philippines, boldly led the walk together with her husband Doug Coote, who showed his full support as he pushed her wheelchair throughout the walk.
Though she is still on the road to full recovery, Coote wholeheartedly showed her desire to fight for her cause. As an expat in the Philippines, she told Rappler that she ultimately hopes for the streets to be safer for Filipino citizens.
“Since we’re going back to Australia soon,” Jacinta says, “hopefully some people will continue on the awareness. In this area particularly, there are so many children walking around the streets," she said.
Coote added: "And that day of the accident, I was so thankful I wasn’t carrying my child with me or else she would have been killed. This event is mainly for Filipinos and their families, the children and for their safety.”
Road safety in the metro
A BGC safety officer, who showed his full support during the event, told the participants, “It is our expression that pedestrian priority is important. We are now talking with our local government, and we are requesting the local government to pass an ordinance that would penalize motorists that would not stop for pedestrians who are walking along pedestrians lines.”
The participants cheered and were assured of more efforts to be carried out towards pedestrian safety.
“Between pedestrians and someone driving a two-ton vehicle,” the BGC safety authority continues, “the pedestrian is more important.”
Passionate about keeping her loved-ones and others safe, Trúc Nguyen, Coote’s good friend and fellow expat, organized the whole event to make sure Coote's story is known.
”The impact is so huge that we want drivers to think twice before they step on that gas pedal,” Trúc told Rappler. “Because saving a few seconds, a few minutes to get to your next destination can have bigger impacts than being a little bit late or not arriving on time. I just want drivers to think more before they step on that gas pedal.”
Road accidents and tragedies happen everyday not only in the Philippines but also worldwide. According to Erwin Paala, President of the Families of Road Victims & Survivors NGO, around 1.2 million families suffer from the death of their loved ones and 500,00 victims lose their limbs and other body parts due to road accidents every year.
“Every 3rd Sunday of November is the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for Road Victims – this is the 10th year,” Erwin said. “We’re going to make noise, but it will be a candle vigil nation wide. We’ll keep it simple, easy to do, but the symbolism and the impact will be heard all over.”
It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that the roads are safe for children, families, citizens, drivers, and even everyday pedestrians.
The organizers continue to call for everyone to exercise and be mindful of the proper road-safety rules not only in BGC, but all over the country. - Rappler.com
Pilar Recto is a Rappler intern.