THE DEATHS of a family of three generations is one of those happenings that can only be described as the height of senselessness. It did not have to happen but it did because some people lack that basic consideration and sensibility to the consequences of their acts or omissions. Worse those mandated by law and paid to enforce the law are negligent because they think that the unthinkable would not happen.
Well, it did and the hapless victims are dead with only, yes, only the driver had to suffer for the negligence, carelessness and incompetence of public officials that could have prevented this tragedy.
The violations for overloading stares at all every day. I have written several articles calling on our officials to do something, but words fell on deaf ears of insensitive men in high and low offices and greedy merchants. All of them, not just the driver, share a collective guilt of this tragedy. National, provincial and local governments, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Land Transportation Office, the PNP, the sugar planters, the truck haulers and their drivers and helpers, the trans-loading stations, and the sugar mills – all must share this guilt.
Even the public must share, even in a tiny bit, this guilt because of their silence in demanding that this practice must end. People have accepted this abnormality as normal and murmur under their breath. When this happens, they do sympathize and shake their heads and revert into silence. The death of an eagle or a warty wild pig brings more outrage than this senselessness in the way human life was lost.
Insurance companies look at situations from a mercantile view. “No fault insurance” they call it. Of course somebody is at fault. But it is good business to just let the culprit vehicle owner pay and charge higher premiums later. Life has no bearing on this materialistic parameters of business. Life, plucked unnecessarily, has only financial value.
Of course, everybody can always find an excuse and there are plenty but in the eyes of the All Seeing One, they cannot escape their failure to do their duty to be sensible, to be honest and to know the limits of their greed.
The death of the Espinosa family stunned officialdom for the sheer senselessness of it. Governor Alfredo Marañon called for a multi-agency action against over loading particularly on overloaded cane trucks and other haulers like trailers. He might as well include overloaded passenger vehicles and tricycles. He might also include the proper use of the widened roads where slow-moving cane trucks and tricycles occupy the center lane and make overtaking difficult for the following vehicles to overtake and force them to wrongly overtake at the right lane.
But above all this is the jealousy of the LTO as the sole authority in the enforcement of traffic rules. They want the power but when accidents happen because local governments claim no authority to enforce, the LTO trumps, in knee-jerk fashion, that they do not have enough personnel.
Several weeks ago when I wrote columns on this overloading and illegal parking of cane trucks, the LTO and DPWH began an operation that netted several violators and netted good money. I thought that with their portable weighing scales, they would wage a massive campaign finally.
But after a few days the operation was suspended by the LTO central office without an explanation, according to LTO provincial chief, Renato Novero. That unexplained suspension cost the lives of four innocent victims.
So we ask, what grave reason was there for the indefinite suspension of this operation and without explanation? Was financial interest adversely affected by the enforcement? Novero should ask for an explanation. Governor Marañon and the Sanggunian Panlalawigan should ask for an explanation. Our congressmen should ask for an explanation and so should the bereaved Espinosa family. Citizens should ask for an explanation. All should demand because this suspension by the LTO central office has already been paid for by human lives.
Whatever the planned multi-agency unit will do will be for naught if people in LTO are incompetent or have pecuniary interests in the non-enforcement of the law.
Let just not wait for those inconsiderate officials of DPWH and LTO. Local governments have powers within their domain to prevent passage of overloaded cane trucks. They have washed their hands for too long. They are not guiltless.