Konsehales Japorms and the Fashion Police

ONE FRIDAY NIGHT, after an exhausting workweek, I was in a video shop in Laoag looking for a good movie to watch when I chanced at City Councilor Joseph Tamayo who was also on a scout for good films.  The good councilor suggested to me “Law-abiding Citizen,” a film that stars Jamie Foxx.

The movie intrigued me instantly because I consider myself a citizen who has high regard for the rule of law, and more so in Laoag, the city of my affections.  A traffic enforcer flagged me one time because my motorcycle had an open pipe. I am not a fan of anything noisy, my friends know how much I value silence, but when I bought the second-hand vehicle, it was set-up with an open pipe, and I was not aware that it was not welcome in my city given the number of motorcycles with open pipes around her streets. But informed that I was in violation of an Anti-Nuisance Ordinance, I respectfully presented my driver’s license, gladly accepted my violation ticket, and sincerely thanked the traffic enforcer for conscientiously doing his job. I went to the city hall and paid my three-hundred-peso fine the next day.

My friends would later on laugh at me. “You should have told the enforcer that you’re from the media, and he would have given you a chance,” they said.  Sadly, they didn’t get the point.  I write for a community newspaper and so I am in a better position to know existing legislation. It was a shame that I was ignorant, and the least that I could do was to pay my dues, and help inform the public of the law.

Tamayo, I know, is of the same stock.  He was once flagged by Land Transportation Office personnel due to a violation: the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s majority leader was not wearing a helmet. He likewise accepted his ticket and went through the process, like any law-abiding citizen should.

As a survivor of two motorcycle accidents, I know how important the wearing of helmet is. Sans the protection a reliable head gear, either I would not be alive now or permanent damaged would have marked my shining, shimmering, widening forehead.  And so I wear that monstrosity, no matter how inconvenient, every time I ride my motorcycle, and I encourage others to do the same.

I am a law-abiding citizen, and our washerwoman, who knows that I would rather keep garbage in my pocket rather than throw them in Laoag’s patently clean streets, would attest.

But what does one do when faced with a law that is patently strange, such as the one recently sponsored by Tamayo, Franklin Dante Respicio, Donald Nicolas, and David Frez?  City Ordinance No. 2010-03 penalizes, among others, the wearing of tsinelas while riding a motorcycle in any street in the city.

This piece of legislation does not reflect the true sentiment of the people these gentlemen were voted to represent.  I do not say that laws must always be populist, for real leaders, dear karikna, must not be afraid to make difficult decisions, and this is the best time to make unpopular legislation because the elections are over two years away, definitely not the time to fear losing votes, given our people’s short memory. But I believe the Sangguniang Panlungsod, who unanimously approved the ordinance, are wasting their political capital on this particular measure.

The public, as expected, met this ordinance with much resistance—from farmers who do not own shoes to sons sent by their frantic mothers to buy three pieces of tomato at the market.

I join my city mates in asking: Is there credible research proving that the wearing of shoes lessens the incidence of motorcycle accidents? Do these councilors still know the plight of the common man, or have they become all too comfortable in their ivory towers?  The ordinance is said to be based on a little known Administrative Order from the DOTC LTO (A.O. AHS 2008-015) which the city council decided to codify, so it is legal, but is it reasonable? I must admit that the ordinance, as a whole, is really meant to promote safety and order, and to help avert crimes.  It is sad then that a valuable piece of legislation is trivialized due to a provision only shoemakers are happy of. I am yet to know any other place where the motorcycle-riding public are forbidden to wear slippers. Not even Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines, thought of this. Yes, we are first, but this is a first I doubt we can be proud of.  By the way, not even the LTO is seriously implementing the no-slippers rule.

But I bet our city traffic enforcers will be dutiful in implementing the ordinance. Fifty percent of the proceeds from penalties (PhP500 first offense, Php700 second offense, Php1000 third offense plus revocation of driver’s license) go to their allowances.  I am sure that our underpaid traffic guys—including my high school classmate Roger Domingo—would be extra alert, strict, and unforgiving.  But please do not get mad at the poor fellows. No foul words and raised eyebrows, please.  The guys ought to do their job, which is, of course, to implement traffic laws, no matter how ridiculous.

The standing joke in Laoag is that, at least, when a motorcycle rider meets an accident, he/she is japorms.

The proponents, despite public opposition, are reportedly standing by the contestable provision by saying, “Anyway, it is already a law. Dura lex sed lex.” This smacks of indifference. Surely, it is within their powers to amend the same law.  Surely, dear karikna, accepting a mistake and rectifying it is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of true gentlemen.

Meanwhile, our law enforcers are thrown into a situation where they have become the Fashion Police (with apologies to real fashion gurus and fashion divas like Ericke Tan and my cousin Myrene Ramos). Instead of attending to real crimes committed by real criminals, their hands will now be full in checking what people wear and do not wear, and in apprehending fashion victims. More shoes! I wonder what my idol Madam Imeda Marcos has to say on this issue, I hope Batac does not follow through.

The ordinance further includes among “protective devices” goggles and leather boots; and protective clothing such as “heavy pants, heavy jackets, leather gloves, and rain suit.”  Wow, heavy! While no penalties have yet been set on the non-wearing of these, a silent, forgiving, and forgetful citizenry could wake up one day looking like cowboys right in the heart of the city. And the honorable (and fashionable) councilors, aboard their fancy cars, would be laughing out loud.

So what should a law-abiding citizen do at this point?  Definitely not what the nemesis of Jamie Foxx’s character did when his state’s justice system did not work:  sow terror by killing lawyers, criminals, and public officials. I will wear the prescribed clothing and devices, and will encourage city mates to do the same, in respect of the law, but I will, in the same spirit of citizenship, continue to initiate resistance against this sorry joke masquerading as a city ordinance.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

10 thoughts on “Konsehales Japorms and the Fashion Police”

  1. I find section 14 of the ordinance good but a bit outrageous. Sec. 14.a and 14.b are indeed safety measures against criminals. But the “visor must be up” on 14.3 is a bit unrealistic. Maaaring may mga tatamaring drayber na itaas yan.

    The really outrageous part of the ordinance is Sec. 16.e. I mean, really, how about those who don’t have shoes? A radio announcer even commented, “Ana ngarud, mangala kad pay laeng daguiti nakurapay a mannalon ti sapatos, ket awan paggatang da?” I agree, sir, that there must be credible researches on reducing the number of motorcycle accidents by not wearing flip-flops.

    One reason why people are criticizing this law is the lack of information dissemination. Although the ordinance has been published in The Ilocos Times [Jan 24-30, 2011, and that’s where I read the ordinance], some people were still unaware because there were little information about the ordinance on radio and TV.

    However, the law is hard, but that is the law. Dura lex, sed lex. Laws shall be followed, then.

    By the way, on behalf of MMSUSHS DebSoc, I thank you sir for attending, giving a lecture, and adjudicating in our Debate Seminar. I can’t help but agree that we at the affirmative weren’t able to fulfill some speaker roles [dahil lang po siguro sa pagod], but I hope my team and I still did well.

  2. Tama. Ewan ko ba, bakit yung pagsusuot ng sapatos ang naisip nila. Sana may mapiga pa silang mas karapat-dapat ipasa. Tandaan nila na hindi lahat ng mga may motorsiklo eh kayang bumili ng mga yan. ‘Yung iba nga, iginapang lang ang pambili.

    Sa kabilang banda po, nais ko lang pong matanong kung may batas po ba sa Laoag ngayon ukol sa maling paniningil ng pamasahe ng mga tricyle drivers? Talamak kasi dito ‘yung mga drivers na ang dialogue ay “Nayunam basit, ading.” (paumanhin kung mali ang Iloko ko) o minsan naman ay “Doblehin mo na lang.” Kung wala pang batas ukol dito, sana ‘yung batas na nagbabawal nang gano’n ang MAHIGPIT nilang ipatupad. Kung may batas ukol sa di tamang pagsusukli hanggang sa huling sentimo tulad ng nabasa ‘ko sa nauna na po ninyong post, sana may ganito rin po. Nauunawaan ko naman ang hirap ng mga tricycle drivers dahil tanghaling tapat man o madaling araw ay babad sila sa byahe, at naging tricycle driver din si Papa nu’ng bata ako. Pero may mga abusado po talaga.

    Kung tutuusin, dahil estudyante ako (kami), eh may dagdag na ang P8.00 na bayad namin dahil hindi namin ibinabawas ang pribelehiyong diskwento. Konswelo na lang po iyon. ‘Yung sa ‘kin nga, P10.00 ang ‘binabayad ko kapag mag-isa lang ako. Pero ang nakakaasar eh ‘yung mga tamad na drivers. Padadagdagan ang bayad mo dahil mag-isa ka lang daw at nakapila sya, samantalang may mga tinatanggihan silang pasahero na hindi sobrang layo ng destinasyon sa pupuntahan ko. Hindi ba’t kung gusto nilang madagdagan ang kita nila eh magtrabaho sila, maghatid pa ng pasahero. Alalahanin nila na hindi lahat ng maisasakay nila ay may ekstrang barya.

    Pasensya na po if tonong nagsusumbong ako. Pero, sana ikonsidera ito ng mga kinauukulan. Hindi yung mga katawa-tawang batas lang para masabing may naipasa sila.

    Salamat po.

    1. Nasayaat met koma no dadduma iti panagsapatos para japorms ngarud! Makagatang ka iti motorsiklo, saan iti sapatos? That’s ridiculous! It’s a good thing to be japorms uray koma man lang sneaker lattan, uray awan medyas. Check out the early 60’s of Manila. Awan makitam nga naka-shorts, naktsinelas, naka-sando nga agpagna-pagna sadiay Quiapo; Avenida ken Escolta! Kasla iti papan iti eskuwela, kasla nakababain no saan ka nga nakaaruat nga nasayaat no adda ka iti langalang sadiay Manila idi. Awan ti mannipdut, awan aglaklako iti tiltilaadda dita sango ti Quiapo church, awan ububbing nga agkaiwara. But now, no longer. Have we gone poorer and just emerged into the cyber-age without progress? We take a look at our neighboring Asian countries. South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, even Vietnam. They look better than us; even tough we are second to Japan during the early 60’s. South Korea was devastated with war, also Vietnam, but they are better off now…

  3. Have not read the ordinance yet, but if it is worth challenging, why not go to the Provincial board and challenge it there? If the provincial board is not the proper venue, then we can go to court to ask them that this is unconstitutional. Anyone who have the guts (and money), please do it, I will support you morally and spiritually(but not financially, diak kaya, mannalonak laeng). I am sure that the blog readers may support as well.

    1. The provincial board approved the ordinance. I believe that legislation is legal, so I do not want it challenged at the courts, and that is why I follow it. But is it reasonable? NO. The city councilors, by their own wisdom, must undo their mistake.

      Mang Del, mannalon in the big city?

  4. in our states nothing is mandatory ie helmet long pants or sneakersbor sensible shoesut it is common sense of the rider.if you were shorts there is nothing between your legs and the pavements, no helmet if you want your gray matter to be splattered in the pavement or even become a vegetable the rest of your life if you survive it is your choice new hampshire state motto “LIVE FREE OR DIE”

  5. mabalin ngamin a maisab-it ta tsinelas idjay kambyo sir, ken presentable met a kitaen ta nkasapatos a driver(specially tricycle driver) in a way promote our beautiful city)
    Ken makgatng da met ti sapatos a siglalaka a sir nu adda lugan da (saan kadi?)

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daytoy ti bunga ti rimkuas nga iliw ken abrasa dagiti lagip iti selsel met la a nagtaudanna...

Herdy Yumul

Blogger/Columnist/Book Author


Got Stuck Beneath the Ink of Pen And Aperture of Lens

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