BY ROGER M. BALANZA
cartoon by rOgerb.
After about ten years, the Anti-Jaywalking Ordinance has resurfaced.
Approved by the Davao City Council in 1992 (if our memory is right) the ordinance became the talk of the town when the then newly-created Traffic Control and Management Board (TMCB) and its implementing arm Traffic Management Center (TMC) adopted a controversial scheme during the initial implementation of the ordinance, in a bid to force pedestrians to use pedestrian lanes in crossing the streets.
The scheme (which we suggested during one of the TMCB meetings) involved fielding TMC traffic enforcers to apprehend violators and bring them to holding areas where they are given lectures after being booked for violation of the Anti-Jaywalking Ordinance.
The TMCB was approved during the second term of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (if our memory is right). During that time, as senior editor of the City Press Office, I handled the media information campaign of TMCB.
It was also during that time that our group composed of TRANSMISSION stalwarts Fabian Diaz, Maning Duran, Danny Sanico and Nick David including the late Police Major Bebiano “Boy” Alquizar of the Davao Police Traffic Division, worked on a proposed New Traffic Rerouting Scheme that was later to be approved by the City Council.
With hundreds of violators being arrested and held at the holding centers one of which is at the Rizal Park, the anti-jaywalking campaign gained so much media and public attention.
The holding center itself at the Rizal Park, a small area enclosed with a rope and roofed with a tarpaulin, with a giant streamer at the side with the markings “Jaywalkers Club” lured a sizable crowd who gathered around the holding area to ogle at the violators.
With the violators inside the center hiding their faces from the ridiculing public, the Jaywalkers Club scheme came short of being a shame campaign.
The holding centers became home to violators for a week, until something happened that sent City Hall to assess whether or not it was in the right direction in herding the violators in an enclosed area at a public park like pigs.
One morning, a lawyer crossed San Pedro St. in front of the City Hall without using the pedestrian lane.
He was promptly apprehended and escorted to the Jaywalkers Club holding center at the Rizal Park.
The lawyer, a well-known figure in the legal circle, felt offended after suffering the ignominy of being publicly ridiculed while being held with the other violators for an hour at the Jaywalkers Club.
After being released, the lawyer went straight to the office of the Commission on Human Rights to file human rights violations against then Mayor Duterte, the late then the City Legal Officer Onofre Francisco, and other City Hall officials behind the Jaywalkers Club holding area implementation.