EDITORIAL - Make honesty among drivers a virtue
(The Freeman) - November 25, 2015 - 9:00am

A hotel recently gave cash incentives to four taxi drivers who returned the belongings of passengers that were left in their cabs. Such incentives are not only welcome, they should be emulated by other establishments as well. Cebu is a hub of many human endeavors and taxis play a part in many of these activities. It is thus good to have initiatives come every once in a while to help make the taxi experience stay positive for most everyone.

Cash incentives, however, do not an honest cab driver make. They only help him along in that direction. That is precisely why the cash is called incentive -- because it is just an enticement. It is values that create virtues. Honesty is engrained in a person. It comes with character. Even without incentives, an honest person, whether he is a driver or not, will always return things that are not his.

In other words, while the incentives are welcome and good, further steps should be made to make cab drivers better persons. They should be made more productive members of our growing community. Hotels, for instance, may pools their resources together or act as one industry to sponsor activities that help instill values in cab drivers and their families.

Actually, even without cash incentives, it is increasingly getting more difficult for cab drivers not to return things left in their cabs, especially if these things belong to hotel guests. Most hotels nowadays have CCTV cameras that record all activities in their premises. It is now also a part of the security protocols of many hotels to take down the names and plate and body numbers of cabs servicing hotel guests.

In other words, the ease with which anyone can get caught is forcing honesty into some people. But that is not the kind of honesty we want. It is honesty from the heart that is most appreciable in people. And that is what the community players should strive for, hence the proposal for activities that can instill values in people, such as drivers, so that honesty becomes for them a virtue and not an end to earn a little reward on the side.

Cash incentives should be institutionalized and promoted. But they should come hand in hand with transformational activities. And as suggested, where feasible the families of the target beneficiaries should be involved. It makes a whole lot of difference if a family goes through transformational activities together. As a family bonds together in values, any slack can always be picked up by others. Those who fall behind can readily be pulled back in.

It is a shot worth taking, considering that honesty in cab drivers is not the only thing that may be derived from such initiatives. Duly transformed cab drivers can become better, more disciplined and law abiding road users. To have even that one sector on the road on a given day can mean a far less stressful drive not just for themselves but for the rest of the community.

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