Monday, December 21, 2015

The visible color of incompetence

The visible color of incompetence

The horrendous traffic has reduced the metropolis to complete paralysis, causing billions of pesos in wasted time. Commuters can only  blame straight their anguish to the incompetence of this administration.  They are cursing in disgust much that the perennial traffic has grown out of proportion, and the government is giving the public an idiotic answer revealing that it simply does not understand the problem.

Understanding the problem is basic because common sense will tell us that one cannot proceed in solving it if he does not understand what it is all about.  Such is the lamentable case, for as always this pretending-to-be-honest government would readily come out with a weird answer that elicits neither sympathy nor laughter, but downright insult to an already suffering population.  Thus, when the commuting public heard PNoy’s nonchalant response that the worsening traffic congestion is an “impact of a growing economy,” the public could only sigh and say – “my God, forgive him for he does not know what he is saying!”
The tightening traffic gridlock in Metro Manila is a problem that should have been understood and anticipated.  It is not enough for these officials to come out with reasons and cite factors as the cause, as his elitist but incompetent protégés would argue.   They would not even care about astoundingly mirage progress that is costing more than a trillion peso in taxpayers’ money.   All they want is a solution to the problem of having to avoid taking a kilometric queue just to be packed like sardines inside a metro rail’s coach, and still to come late and deducted of their day’s earnings. 
If this government truly has the vision and foresight, it should have known that urbanization and increasing population are factors that contribute to aggravate traffic, and not just wait until it develops to one of horrendous proportion.   These hypocrites need not even come out with a new idea. They just need to upgrade passenger capacity and open new routes for our light rail transit to decongest and diversify the flow of commuters to their work destination. 
But instead of taking that route, these modern day robber barons talk on who should get the franchise or on how much profit they would rake in.  They fry the public in their own lard by borrowing from the government and paying it out of the exorbitant fare they would charge.   As elite always wanting to satisfy their taste for luxury, they preoccupy themselves in road widening, but show no let-up in registering new vehicles because that would be most satisfactory to  the car dealers.
To the more discerning, the chaos that now characterizes our roads is symptomatic of lack of discipline and political will because prosperous cites such as Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore have fewer cars  plying  their thoroughfares.  Surely, many of them could afford to buy one, but they know it would cause them more inconvenience than in solving their narrow view of comfort.  They prefer to use their public mass transport, like their light rail transit and buses, because they are more convenient, fast and economical.   
In said countries, if others could not avoid using their private car, they would have to comply with the stringent requirements for the registration of their motor vehicles.  First, they are not allowed to purchase heavy duty vehicles with V-8 engines. They must present certain credentials to be given permission.   Second, they cannot enter the city proper using their car at certain hours of the day without special permit.  Third, heavy registration fees are imposed on those seeking to own several cars, say to a maximum of three.  Fourth, applicants must submit an affidavit they have a parking space at their residence and at their office for their car.    
The trouble is that this incompetent administration has completely neglected our mass transport system.   A good case is when the defective MRT train slammed the barrier in Taft avenue resulting to injuries to around 36 passengers, followed by the disruption in the operations of the MRT due to flooding in some areas, and the defective signal lights of LRT train. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino together with their boss only came out with their band-aid solution by rushing work to resume their operations.
They should have known it that the disruption in the operations of a major  mass transport that carries about 500,000 passengers daily could easily  spread to affect the other transportation system.  Passengers that own cars but take the light rail transit to save time and money were forced to use them to avoid the penitence of falling in line and arriving late for work. The rational fielding of more buses during peak hours was completely ignored because everybody wanted to cash in on the windfall caused by the disruption in the operations of the light trail transit. This, not to mention the entry of “colorum” buses, fielded to meet the acute shortage. 
The same can be said of the taxicabs, many of whom have been ganging up on their helpless passengers like refusing to pick up passengers should they refuse to pay the same amount of  fare for their return trip  to defray their so-called “loss due to heavy traffic.” Often, drivers do not bother to return the change, and passengers in a hurry would rather not antagonize these hold-uppers posing as drivers.   Even tricycles join the fray to get passengers, and these ignorant pedicab drivers would not care less if they counter the flow of traffic.  
Another is the increased number of containerized trucks moving in and out of the port of Manila.  It is evident that this incompetent government values more the interest of the trucking operators and their big business clients than of looking after the welfare of the ordinary commuters that are stacked for hours because of the traffic logjam.  Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and his Vice Mayor Esko Moreno are right in requesting that the government should compel truckers to load and unload their containerized cargoes for overseas shipment in the Ports of Batangas and Subic.   The two also did the right thing to ward off buses without permit from entering the city.  That decision helped much to ease the traffic in Manila that for many years was avoided by most drivers.
The band-aid solution of giving cargo trucks their “special truck lane pass” to allow them to deliver their containerized cargoes in and out of Manila on a 24-hour basis will not help ease the traffic.  It would require a comprehensive plan and a political will, which this government does not seem to have.  Moreover, the one who is supposed to solve it has become a problem itself.  As said, it cannot always bank on its honesty to counter the charge of incompetence because resorting to blame game could not restore the smooth flow of traffic in the metropolis.  (

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