My (unfortunate) jaywalking experience as a balikbayan

A sign like this need to be placed at the spot easily seen by pedestrians.
A sign like this need to be placed at the spot easily seen by pedestrians.

December 19 – Even if I came home at my friend’s apartment rather late the night before, since I attended an event, I still managed to get up early because of an appointment. I was supposed to pick up a document done for authentication.

As usual, the ever reliable MRT Ortigas Station was my starting point to get to the government institution, via the MRT Pasay Taft Station. It was a good thing that I was standing all throughout the ride so even if I was a bit sleepy, I knew I had to be alert and on my toes. My stop came, thus, I alighted and went on my way.

Then, suddenly I heard..”Prrrt…(the whistle of a man in uniform..MMDA officer) Miss, jaywalking ka.” I knew I was a bit light headed but I was also very sure that I just went down the stairs, walked a few steps and didn’t even cross the street..yet!

“Ano pong jaywalking, sir? Saan po ba dapat tumawid? Nasaan po ba signage ninyo?”

The officer said, “Jaywalking ka nga. Bago ka ba dito sa Maynila? Doon na tayo sa opisina.”

I purposely didn’t tell the officer that I am a balikbayan so I went with him BUT, only after taking a picture of the sign which was not even at a vantage point for pedestrians to see. Malilito ka talaga po.

At their office, there was another pedestrian whom they said violated the jaywalking regulation too. The woman was older than me and she looked more haggard than I was. I heard her begging to be released saying that she just came from the province and had not enough money to pay the fine. She was also insisting that she didn’t violate anything.

I realized that if that woman and I didn’t violate the regulation, then, why do these officers kept insisting that we did? I felt the need to tell them that I am working for the media and started taking pictures at their office.

 

I did not harass the officer but I felt that I had to take pictures..
I did not harass the officer but I felt that I had to take pictures..

What happened next? The older woman and I were both released without paying a single centavo.

“Nakakalungkot po ang ganitong sitwasyon, mga kabayan. Dahil po ba sa panahon na iyon ay nalalapit ang Pasko? Sana matuto na si kabayan sa pangyayaring ito.”

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