The United Nations, through funding of their public health arm, the World Health Organization, (WHO), is providing eight breath analyzers, a unit used to test the alcohol intake of drivers, to Guimaras province where my Filipina wife and I reside. Guimaras is the first province in the Philippines to receive these units which will be used to do random checks on jeepney drivers and other drivers of public utility vehicles along with motorcyclists. This information according to a report in the Philippine Information Agency.
Asst. Project Coordinator Rene Garonita said there were 1,429 reported and hospital-treated road injuries in 2009, not including those who did not seek treatment. The breath analyzers are part of a program called the Road Traffic Injury Project (RTIP) which was launched last November to reduce road traffic injuries in Guimaras. Garonita stated that their campaign also focuses on the use of helmets and seat belts with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Land Transportation (LTO) and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) maintaining checkpoints to help intensify the campaign.
Good luck on that seat belt enforcement. I never wear a seat belt anymore in the Philippines. There are no seat belts equipped for the passengers that ride in the back of a jeepney, and if I happen to be riding shotgun, I don’t wear one either unless the driver has already been tipped off to a PNP checkpoint ahead (which he always is.) The driver will then instruct the front seat passengers to wear one and as soon was we pass the checkpoint, the belts come off. If anyone is standing up and hanging outside the rear of the jeepney, the driver also orders them inside until the checkpoint is cleared.
I never drive a jeepney or any other vehicle in Guimaras, don’t feel a need to own a vehicle. And I never have been drunk while riding a jeepney or had an alcoholic beverage while riding a taxi in Iloilo, let alone drink and drive. Just kind of boggles my mind that the United Nations is reaching out to our small rural province of Guimaras. I personally think that providing better health care to our province would be a higher priority, but what do I know?
Guess as long as the UN doesn’t start bringing in some “peacekeeping” troops, I can live with the breath analyzer intrusion, and maybe they will help weed out some drunk drivers. Suppose I’ll just keep drinking my Red Horse at “The Compound” and avoid any possible run in with cops armed with assault rifles and breath analyzers checking for DUI’s in the Philippines. Much safer that way.