Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) - Baguio City has issued an official statement regarding the viral incident of a PWD caught jaywalking.
OUR OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO THE VIRAL PWD CAUGHT JAYWALKING INCIDENT
At around 2:07pm on the 21st of November, two of our enforcers posted at the junction of Hilltop road and Magsaysay road, spotted two men, the PWD and his porter, who were about to jaywalk. Immediately, one of our enforcers used a megaphone to advise the two men that it is prohibited to cross at that part of the road and that there was a nearby pedestrian crossing they can use. Both men ignored the call and proceeded anyway. Continued calls were ultimately ignored as both men completed the traverse.
Our enforcers decided to follow the two men because of their blatant disobedience to the warnings accorded to them and their violating of the Anti-Jaywalking Ordinance. They got to them at the pedestrian crossing as they were waiting for a ride. They were immediately questioned for disregarding the calls made to them which they readily admitted. When the violators were asked to present their IDs, both initially claimed they had none and only brought them out when they were told they will need to be brought to the nearest police station for failing to cooperate. Two separate citations tickets were subsequently issued to each of them.
All things considered, the decision of our enforcers to issue citation tickets to the jaywalking violators was warranted. While we regularly give considerations to PWDs whenever we chance on them violating certain city ordinances, each case involving members of this community must be dealt with independently. Likewise, the level of action to be handed out should be tailored to each situation. This means, being a PWD should not automatically absolve an offender from the consequences of his/her actions. No less than the Persons With Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) of the City Mayor's Office echo this statement. The same office admits abuse (use of the PWD cards to gain undue advantage over others or for circumventing rules) amongst their community is not uncommon.
It is also important to note that the outrage from the public on this issue is mainly on the premise that the violator was a completely blind person because his PWD ID indicated he was visually impaired and got apprehended by the POSD enforcers anyway. There are certain degrees of visual impairment and for this case, the person had one eye perfectly working and complete vision loss on the other - this is according to his interview on GMA TV - As evident on the CCTV footage, his condition had no apparent impact on his mobility. In fact, the distance they travelled to get to the spot where they waited for a ride has the same distance of the much safer route which was through the pedestrian crossing.
DANGERS OF JAYWALKING
Jaywalking violations have caused so many vehicular accidents on our streets. The usual unfortunate outcome is that unsuspecting motorists suddenly become defendants in accidents they have not caused. As regards PWDs, whatever form of disability, it is far better to cross streets using pedestrian crossing and overpasses. There are there for a reason. You'd be surprised to know that nearly blind or completely blind persons are actually the ones utilizing these designated crossing areas for the simple reason that they know it is far safer there.
From an enforcement perspective, most violations are born out of lack of discipline. It is the crux of many problems we have in our city. The antidote to this problem is consistent and unbiased implementation of rules and regulations, without fear or favor.
We recognize that this issue has attracted very negative publicity towards our office. Whilst it has dampen the spirits of our personnel because we know the outrage is undue, we are committed to continue providing public service to the best of our abilities as a lot of people and sectors depend on them.
PS. Attached are labeled snapshots of the CCTV footage of the incident.
PPS. The CCTV video footage will be posted separately after this as Facebook won't allow us to have videos and photos on the same post.
PPPS. The CCTV rotates 360 degrees every few seconds so it only partially caught a few seconds of the crossing itself but nonetheless captured the key moments of the incident.