Disciplined freedom

jayI briefly touched base in Davao, the home city of the newly elected President this week for just a day.

Upon getting out of the airport one can immediately notice and experience the remarkable difference in Davao City.

That is their speed limits on the road.

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I was heading for Digos City which is about sixty one kilometers from Davao airport.

This  distance is quite similar to the distance between Makati City  and Tagaytay.

I know this distance can be negotiated by less than one and a half hours of travel.

Heading to Digos, the driver who fetched me said however the travel time is two hours.

“How’s that?” I asked.

“It’s because of the speed limits here,” the driver explained.

In Davao City vehicle speed limit is strictly enforced.

Its forty kilometers per hour in the city proper and sixty kilometers-per-hour maximum in the highways outside the city proper.

“Do you strictly enforce the speed limits here?” I inquired.

“Strikto dinhi” said the driver.

Traffic monitoring personnel lurk in the side streets with their monitoring devices.

They strictly enforce and apprehend violators.

Just this week, the vice mayor of Davao himself, son of the President-elect was given a ticket for over speeding.

No one is exempted by this law.

As a result, traffic accidents are radically minimized.

Vehicle drivers turn on their signal lights when they attempt to change lanes.

This is way unlike Metro Manila where vehicles, abruptly without warning  change their lanes.

In Davao vehicles strictly observe the command of the traffic lights.

As a visitor who comes to Davao infrequently, I can immediately spot the difference just by getting out of the airport and heading the main roads.

Perhaps it is this sense of discipline that should be spread throughout other cities in the country.

It is not out of fear that vehicles in Davao follow the road rules.

They have realized the benefits of observing basic laws on traffic, that they follow it  strictly as the rule of thumb.

Perhaps in a general sense, Filipinos need to have discipline, not only when they ply the roads, but in every aspect of our lives.

There is nothing wrong with having a wide latitude of freedom.

But freedom is exercised, not only with responsibility, but with discipline.

If there is a change this country needs, it is the exercise of disciplined freedom. (By Atty. Jay I. Dejeresco)



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