Remembering a friend & a bus full of dreamers
- Angel Rivero (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2015 - 10:00am

Oh, how time flies. It has now been over a year since the tragic Bontoc bus crash that claimed the lives of 15 of its passengers (and badly hurt many of the rest), including my long-time media partner, co-host and friend, Tado Jimenez. Sadly, despite the efforts of the families affected to seek justice and renumeration, until this day, the criminal case has still hardly moved forward and many of the families have not received due compensation.

If you really think about it, every day, every commuter has to face a safety risk while he is on his way to work or wherever his destination might be. And obvious shortcomings of the government in regulating our public transportation’s compliance with safety standards clearly calls for major reforms. No family should ever go through the nightmare of losing a loved one simply because of the irresponsibility and lack of accountability of public vehicles—notorious bus companies, especially.

In commemoration of the 1st anniversary of this Bontoc bus tragedy, DAKILA, an artist collective founded by Tado, created a campaign for the public to hold bus companies accountable for a safe and convenient commute. As part of said campaign, a mobile app/website was launched to serve as a platform wherein the commuting public can air their grievances on their commute experiences and rate the services of bus companies according to certain standards of safety, comfort and convenience. The website is called “PARA sa Pilipinas.”

“PARA sa Pilipinas” is in essence, a road safety campaign and its essential proponent is the ‘Para! Po’ reporting tool, which enables commuters to report whether or not the operators of the bus they are riding have complied with existing rules and regulations. These offenses include smoke belching, the lack of plate visibility, reckless driving, obstruction of traffic, overloading, and the like.  At this time, the tool is geared towards monitoring PUB’s operating within Metro Manila and provincial bus lines nationwide; but the developers hope that soon it could also be applied to other forms of transportation.

Michelle Rama, Creative and Strategy Director of DAKILA explains, “More than just a complaint mechanism, it can also monitor compliance and identify exemplary bus lines. As the reports come in, we’ll also be able to track the performance of bus operators and share information back to the public. Commuters will soon be able to choose bus lines based on their track records, patronize well-rated bus lines, and avoid those with negative reviews.”

As a matter of fact, this campaign was in itself, conceptualized to honor and continue the fight for Tado’s advocacy on road safety. A bike tour was also held in Marikina City last February 7, in remembrance of Tado. Furthermore, a ritual and Mass was also held at the actual crash site in Bontoc.

A beta version of the PARA! Po tool was already made available last February 9, and commuters may now start submitting their reports at ParaPo.ph.

To learn more about the campaign, you may visit ParasaPilipinas.Ph.

ACIRC BONTOC BUS CAMPAIGN CREATIVE AND STRATEGY DIRECTOR MARIKINA CITY METRO MANILA MICHELLE RAMA PILIPINAS TADO TADO JIMENEZ
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