A Shattered Future

An 18-year old girl was side-swiped by a speeding vehicle somewhere in the North here in the Philippines. The girl (accompanied by their professors) was on her way back to Manila with her classmates from an out of town school engagement.

On their way back, the entire contingent decided to make a stop over to have their dinner (around 7pm). Since there were a number of students who attended the trip, the restaurants on one side of the street were occupied at once. So the group of this girl decided to have their dinner in a restaurant located at the other side of the street.

According to her classmates, after dinner the group crossed the street to return to their respective buses. This girl was about to cross the street, when suddenly a speeding vehicle hit this girl causing the girl to be airborned for a moment and landed on the windshield with her face first.

The girl was taken to a nearby hospital and as of this writing is still confined at the ICU of the hospital.

Who is reponsible for this accident? It could be the car, some might even say that its the fault of the girl for being careless. But how about the school who organized the trip? Are they liable? What do you think?

Unfortunately, schools here in the Philippines are so smart that for every trip, they would require attendees to sign a waiver indicating that if in case of accidents, the school will not be liable in any way. I say this waiver thing is a lot of “BS”.

These trips don’t come in cheap. Students need to pay a hefty sum to join and yet no one will be responsible if in case something happens? Crazy really. I won’t even be surprised if someone made some profits out of this project.

So what do we tell the parents of this girl now? “We are sorry for the unfortunate incident Sir / Ma’am, but since you signed the waiver, we will not be responsible for the incident?” How would you feel if you’re the parents of this girl.

With the popularity of the internet and with the availability of video sharing sites like Youtube, would it really matter if we asked our students to just watch these cultural heritage sites than asking our students to visit the site personally? Would it really matter?

If it does matter, the waiver should be thrown out of the window. The school, the organizers and professors should all be held responsible and accountable to every student who will join future trips. A waiver does not only free the school from responsibilities but will also make the organizers and professors irresponsible since they won’t be liable for any untoward incidents.

Given the ongoing economic crunch, schools here in the Philippines are planning to increase tuition fees for school year 2009-2010. With extra curricular activities, these schools are adding more burden to parents who are working so hard to provide their children a good future. With what happened, what future are we talking about here now for this young girl?

May God have mercy on those people who are responsible for this tragic incident. God Bless us all!

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