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The Soapbox Filipina | November 14, 2019

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The Bus: A Public Transport

Pier Angeli B. Ang Sen
opinion on buses published on GMA 7 site

opinion on buses published on GMA 7 site


The Bus: A Public Transport

Years back, in my kindergarten days, my mom and I would travel several times in a year to visit her family’s place. We take the bus. Back then, the roads were not as paved; the trip from where we used to reside-which was Davao City to Butuan City, was probably 10 hours.

As we would stop over one station, vendors would get on the bus and shout,

“Itlog, manoy, orange.”

( thank God for commas, – without them, those three words up there, would sound, uhm, funny. As in the book about the “panda who eats shoots and leaves.” )

I once stayed, for a few days, in Pampanga -in the house of my former office mate Cherryl. Her family warmly accommodated me for the holidays. I most definitely cherish those times with them. I remembered having gone to the station in D. Jose. I rode the bus and got to Floridablanca, on my own.

Last weekend, my family and I had a great time in Baguio City, just in time for the opening of Panagbenga. And to get there, my mom, my five siblings and I, took the bus. ( and one tablet of bonamine, of course)

I feel blessed just thinking of those beautiful memories with buses, bus stations and vendors.

But this week, a bus lost its brakes.
Then, I thought of the bus that fell off the skyways.
Or the bus that rammed into a loading area.
Or, the bus that collided with a private vehicle.
All of those buses claimed lives.
Then, it becomes heartbreaking.

But this is not about “just A BUS”, nor is this anymore about that public transport.

It is not anymore about, “uuy, sino pang walang ticket dyan.”

It is not about wishing, for your very own four-wheel drive, so you can travel off road and be on that side of the country.

It is not anymore about the excitement of traveling alone and meeting your future spouse on the bus. It is not about sitting beside a fellow passenger with a panning basket full of vegetables. Or a rooster in the compartment of the bus.

It is not just a ” long trip, or trip, trip” as comedian Tado wrote on instagram, hours before he died -as the bus he rode plunged into a ravine.

It is not anymore about the bus driver stripped of his license. It is not anymore on how frequent the bus franchise is suspended , -for the time being. Or how fast they get back on the road when operations had just been held off. It is not anymore about the number of criminal charges, owners of buses receive.

It is about the importance of Filipinos relying on public transport in their daily lives.

It is getting from point a to b -and living life. It is bringing every passenger to work and getting on time. It is helping communities, enriching lives. It is that outreach program. It is a company outing. It is inviting foreigners to see scenic places in this land. It was that family vacation. It was a child’s birthday celebration. It is about friends and families praying that their love ones will return home, safe and sound.

It is about getting on a transportation -thought to have been thoroughly checked and maintained.

It is about entrusting lives into the hands of someone -thought to have been equipped, to drive them to their destination.

Must the buses in this country be a measure of the Filipino’s longevity? Must it take lives?

And say what? …that all those people did wrong was, get on the bus-then, leave everything to fate and destiny.

The frequency of these buses involved in fatal accidents is disturbing. Those in charge should really take a closer look at our public transports. (a magnifying glass would suffice) They should scrutinize the policies by which these buses operate.

Where is that course of action?

1. If stringent bus rules and regulations need to be implemented, why not?

2. If it be needed to watch bus liners like a hawk, then hawk be it.

3. If it be required that the government send someone to check all the buses everyday, then, check everyday.

4. If someone from the government need to oversee the management of this poorly maintained buses, by staying all day in bus stations, then why not?

5. If every bus station has to have a government inspector/ mechanic, why not?

6. If the government has to screen all drivers thoroughly, then why wouldn’t they?

7. If a terribly large amount of money is needed to enforce policies and educate bus drivers, then spend, spend, spend.

This country has a lot of money to spend anyway.
( so much money that even billions are unaccounted for)

8. If it need for me to be distressed like this, while sipping my cup of coffee and reading about “Debid Sicam and Tado Jimenez, -on how great people and artists they were, how they had contributed to this country or how they were great fathers to their children, I will.

(or how their lives were shortened -wasted like that or how they would now be referred to, in the past tense)

9. And please stop saying “it’s complicated” or “it is not as easy as it was thought” or even mention “emotions”.

Let this be not something that came passing through and be forgotten as the months go by, till, heaven forbid

Let this not be a noise that will be silenced in time.

While everything else will be reduced to the right against self-incrimination. ” Hindi po namin alam, ewan ko po sa kanila.”

This is not even about being poor.

It is about our lives intertwined with the public transport called bus.

Just someone, somebody, ANYONE? -please DO SOMETHING.

( you can make it happen.)



  1. Very well said… I totally agree! I really hope that all these accidents would now be a wake up call for this country to look into this pressing situation. Bus companies that has been suspended several times already should not be allowed to operate unless everything has been cleared. While those whose license has been cancelled be not allowed to operate anymore, for good! Hindi lang din naman passengers ang nawawalan, even the drivers whose been doing their best to do their duties well, nadadamay if something bad happens. I pray that people would learn to vote wisely so as not to re-elect those that are not their to serve (kasi nangungurakot lang when those money could’ve been used as budget for this kind of thing).

    I love reading your blog, Pier! Happy to have met you! 🙂

    • Hey Peach! Thanks.
      Yes, We must all learn and soon!
      I felt so sad reading about the families left behind by those who died. And something must really be done. It must not just be one of those tragedies forgotten in time.

      Thanks for reading Peachy.

      Happy to have met you too, see you in the next mastermind,
      by April, I think.
      Take care!

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