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Alerto Tomasino

ALERTO TOMASINO: On Public Transportations

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Most of the students in UST commute. That’s a known fact. You’d think that just because hundreds of Thomasians commute to campus everyday, public transportation is a safe option. It’s only safe if you are careful. We’re not actually like Canada where public transportation is something no parents would have any qualms about. Our public transportation is the antithesis of what Canada’s public transportation is.

By the way, it’s not a little ironic that you’re getting public transportation tips from a guy who commutes only through taxis and has his own driver to drive him to school. I’ve done some assignments on this back in high school so at least hear me out.

First of all, you could get a ride from the streets surrounding UST but Lacson, España, and Dapitan are the most commonly used for hitching a ride with a jeep. These are only from my observations of a year in UST. I notice not many students go to P. Noval to hitch a ride home compared to the large number of students that wait near the overpass in España. Although, just because these are commonly used by students doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Anyway, one of the downsides of public transportation is always the risk of a mugger or holdupper as we call them. Even in crowded jeepneys, there could be a mugger lurking in a blind spot, especially at night. The best way to be safe is to always be alert of your surroundings and prepare to run to a crowded but safe place. Don’t worry; it’ll be alright if you know where you’re going.

However, if you’re ever confronted by a mugger with a weapon at point-blank range, just follow what he says and give him whatever he wants. Cellphones and wallets are replaceable; your life and well-being is not. And to the ladies out there, be extra careful during nighttime. Muggers love targeting damsels in distress and, God forbid, they could do worse things.

Once, and this a true story by the way, my friend Sarrah from AB Communication Arts nearly got mugged. She got down from the jeep and this random guy blocked her way with his arm. So Sarrah, already feeling ticked off from that day, shouted “Get out of the way!” in Filipino and ran through the guy’s arm, off to her next stop. Now seriously, that was a lucky break. She was lucky because the guy didn’t have a weapon with him. I then told her “Don’t ever do that again! Don’t you ever do that again!” ad nauseam.

You can get lucky but there comes a point where your luck would run out. You can always think “Oh, this would never happen to me so I’d just be lax about it” but what would happen if it does? What would you say if you get mugged sooner or later? You’d then be crying “How could this happen to me?!” just like that old Simple Plan song.

Next, as you ride in that jeepney, always keep your bags in check.

I could remember my classmates telling me how their phones were snatched from their bags because they weren’t being careful. They just put it down on top of their bag and waited for their stop. Yeah, that’s smart. Leave your phone out in the open and enjoy the ride. Surely nothing bad can happen to it.

Keep your personal belongings within your bag and always keep an eye on it. Just like what’s said in those signs that we usually ignore in fast-food restaurants, “Never leave your belongings unattended”. Of course, people would only be careful once the consequences have happened to them, instead of preventing the consequences from happening in the first place.

Jeepneys are safe only for smart people. I’m sure all of you reading this are smart, right?

So, as a Thomasian, the best way to be safe is to always have reason. Not reasons, but reason as in rational thinking. Know your itinerary and keep a close eye on your surroundings. You could be safe for one second but something else could happen in the next. As long as you stay cautious and know what you’re doing, you’ll be out of harm’s way.

 By: Ralph De Las Alas

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