Calls for walkable cities after Vico Sotto’s tweet about Filipino discipline

October 14, 2022 - 6:08 PM
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Vico Sotto_July 2021
Vico Sotto speaking from a podium in this photo from his Facebook page on July 22, 2021. (Facebook/Vico Sotto)

The need for walkable cities was discussed anew following a tweet from Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto where he argues that Filipino commuters and pedestrians follow road rules overseas but not at home.

Sotto on October 13 called out a resident who complained about the sudden change in the loading and unloading areas for commuters along the Rosario Bridge in Pasig City.

“Anung pinaggagawa niyo sa mga pasaherong nag aabang ng masasakyan sa may Rosario tulay? Pinapalipat niyo sila sa napakalayung simbahan,” the user said.

In a quote-retweet, Sotto asked why some Filipinos are more disciplined in other countries than they are here.

“Bakit kaya pag nasa ibang bansa tayong mga pilipino, handa tayong sumunod sa tamang sakayan/babaan… kahit paglakarin tayo ng 500 meters sumusunod tayo, no questions asked?” he tweeted.

“Pero pag nasa Maynila tayo, magagalit pa kapag inaayos ito,” he added.

The bridge referred to is a lengthy flyover that links the eastern part of Metro Manila to the main highways—the C5 road and Ortigas Avenue.

In replies to users on Friday, September 14, Sotto defended the new waiting area at the bridge in question.

He even dared the Twitter user to go to the site himself.

“With due respect to [your] opinion/narrative… go to the site & see where it’s actually SAFER for commuters? Following rules is cultural too. Non-public transport example– Drivers bribing officers to get out of tickets; those who do it here would never do that in the US,” Sotto said.

Although there was no exact location specified in the tweets, here is a 2019 photo from Google Maps that showed an area along Rosario Bridge busy with jeepneys and commuters waiting for their rides.

Screenshot of an area along Rosario Bridge in Pasig City in October 2019 (Google Maps)

Need for safer, walkable cities

Sotto’s tweet also opened up discussions anew on how hazardous most cities are to commuters and pedestrians.

RELATED: Viral TikTok video bares poor planning in sidewalks, bike lanes in Metro Manila

A few social media users listed reasons why cities in the Philippines are not walkable unlike those in other countries.

“Mayor Vico, sa ibang bansa kasi…

  1. May maayos na bus stops na may bubong at tinitigilan ng bus talaga;
  2. Nagagamit ang sidewalk, hindi paradahan at tambakan ng kung anu-ano;
  3. Available ang mass transportation at sapat siya;
  4. Wala masyadong traffic.

Yun yun, mayor,” Facebook page Batas for Every Juan said.

“Mayor, if you’re referring to Europe or US, walkable kasi ang mga kalsada nila because of good urban planning and they’re blessed with temperate weather. Hindi katulad po dito sa atin na mainit at wala mga infra para maengganyo mga tao na maglakad,” one user said.

Redditors, meanwhile, called for safer roads and infrastructures to make Pasig City and other urban places conducive for commuters and pedestrians.

They talked about this matter in the subreddit r/Philippines.

“Madaling makasanayan ang pagkakaroon ng disiplina kung may sense ang mga daan natin, kung hindi nakakamatay ang init ng araw, kung hindi kailangang sumulong sa baha sa mga lugar na itinakda para maging tawiran at kung walang mga sasakyang nakikipagkompetensya sa dinadaanan mo,” one Redditor said. 

“Bago nila ireklamo ang kawalang disiplina ng mga tao, sana sinisiguro muna nilang may maayos na daanan silang nailatag,” the user added.

“Even crossing the street here means you have to deal with massive SUVs, double-parked vehicles [on] sidewalk, street vendors and even aggressive panhandlers. It’s an unpleasant experience,” another Redditor said.