First-time Filipino drivers here in Taiwan get the surprise of their lives when they receive traffic violation tickets for what they thought they could get away with, as is their won't back home.
Parking violations, beating the red light, over-speeding, swerving on the wrong lane and other infractions are caught by CCTV cameras and instantly recorded at the central traffic bureau of each city. The computers then issue printed violation tickets which are mailed to the registered address of the vehicle owner. The erring driver can pay, rather, should pay in any 7-11 convenience store.
If they fail to pay, their licenses eventually cannot be renewed. But not in the Philippines, where the operative rule is “makalusot” when nobody is looking.
Accountability is the norm, and just recently, the engineers and contractors of a building which fell during the strong 2017 earthquake in Hualien where a Filipina caregiver died, were sentenced by a court of justice to three years of imprisonment for violations of the building code.
The engineer was also punished separately for having had an expired professional license at the time the building was constructed.
In the Philippines? Dadaanin sa pakiusap o sa lakas, or through an under-the-table arrangement. Palalamigin muna ang issue until it recedes from public memory.
And that was just two years back. From investigation, to prosecution, to the filing of the complaint, to resolution and decision by a court of justice. Swift accountability.
Even now, for instance, investigation is ongoing on what caused the recent collapse of the bridge in Nanfangao, Yilan, where three Filipino fishermen died while inside a vessel underneath the bridge.
Some people or companies, whether in government or the private sector, will be held accountable, and the wheels of justice will grind, not ever so slowly as in our country, but swiftly to exact proper accountability.
Compensation for the victims also came swiftly. The outpouring of assistance, while not enough to pay for the loss in human lives, has been quite overwhelming.
From the Yilan County government, to the Tzu Chi Foundation, the Taiwan Red Cross, the insurance companies, and even the Taiwan International Port Corp. (the equivalent of our Philippine Ports Authority), to even private sympathizers, there was immediate response and adequate compensatory relief.
By the end of this month, a cheque for five million Taiwan dollars (roughly P8.7 million) will be given by TIPC to our labor officials for them to transmit to the victims’ immediate families. That’s just a month from the date of the accident.
Incidentally too, MECO with the assistance of OWWA has been able to swiftly repatriate the remains of the unfortunate fishermen, and brought their next of kin to Taiwan right after the Yilan accident.
Speaking of the Tzu Chi Foundation which was among the first, if not the first foreign NGO to dispatch assistance to the victims of “Haiyan” or Typhoon “Yolanda” in November 2014, and provides continuous humanitarian assistance to the poor in the Philippines, we thank them once again for a very generous act of benevolence to a compatriot.
It is a very touching story.
For years, Michael Mahusay suffered from a rapidly growing tumor that deformed his face. Now he can smile again, thanks to Tzu Chi.
At a press conference on Thursday, Oct.17, 26 year-old Mahusay said he first discovered the bone-textured mass on his upper left jaw in 2015. Within two years, the tumorous growth had fundamentally altered his life: He had trouble eating and speaking, and had to cover his face with a bandanna in public.
On September 2017, Mahusay visited free medical consultation at Pedro Guevarra Elementary School in Manila, where doctors from the Tzu Chi International Medical Association recommended surgery to remove the tumor. They arranged for Mahusay to be brought to Taiwan and the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital.
Though such tumors rarely exceed five centimeters, Mahusay’s tumor was 12 cm. wide, something quite rare. To complicate matters, the size and depth of the tumor had deformed the bone structure of Mahusay’s jaw, nose, and forehead, meaning that surgery presented a significant risk of blood loss. Failure to extract the tumor completely though created a risk that the tumor would regrow.
Words are inadequate to describe Mahusay’s ordeal and the facial transformation after the series of surgical interventions. But the pictures show the immensity of the task the doctors performed.
It took a total of nine surgeries over four months, a complex and difficult process, but it was successfully done. Mahusay can now eat and breathe without difficulty.
Thank you, Tzu Chi. Filipinos will always be grateful for the many ways you have assisted our people. This is just one of these.