Photo Courtesy of http://www.expatch.org
Is it just me or is traffic in Metro Manila going from bad to worse? With the uncontrolled increase in the number of vehicles and the lack of addition roads I guess it’s but expected right? So what’s the government doing? Re-blocking EDSA and C5! Hahaha!
But don’t lose hope. There are some exciting projects happening to ease the situation. Some I consider to be good solution to the problem yet some I consider BAND-AID Solution to the problem.
Integrated Bus Terminal
There are 9000 to 12000 buses using EDSA which is almost 8 times more what it can handle. The solution according to the government is to move the provincial bus terminals to the south and north of Metro Manila to remove 4000 buses from EDSA. Ofcourse the bus operators are complaining saying that it’s not a good solution to the problem. I think it is a GREAT solution! Having the bus terminals moved outside the metro and creating a system similar to our airports would not just help the traffic situation but also security and making things more organized. We desperately need to organize NCR!
NLEX Harbor Link
People from Manila. Valenzuela, Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas are to benefit from this project. It’s purpose is to connect C3 and McArthur Highway to NLEX Mindanao Avenue and Balintawak both in QC. The construction has already started that will connect McArthur Highway to the existing Mindanao Loop. Though this is a good solution to the really bad traffic in CAMANAVA, this to me is just a temporary solution to the problem. Something that the rich will be able to afford. The real solution is to create more road networks and improvement of our public transport system. ADDITIONAL ROADS not ADDITION TOLLWAYS is the real solution.
Instead of Temporary solutions these are LONG TERM SOLUTIONS I believe would resolve our traffic problem:
1. Re-educating drivers
2. Changes in the application for driver’s license. Total Revamp on the Written and Actual Driving test (instead of driving inside the LTO compound have the applicants drive in real roads and rate them based on that). Maybe introducing a point system similar to what other countries are doing wherein all drivers will be given a number of points and will get deductions every time they violate the law and at renewal if they fall below a certain point then they will not be allowed to renew their license and undergo re-training.
3. Setup stop signs on intersections in the city
4. Road Widening and Construction and adding more roads
5. Rehabilitation and Upgrading and adding Train Networks
6. Rehabilitation and using our rivers as transportation networks
7. Phaseout Jeepneys in EDSA and C5
8. Lowering taxes outside the city to entice people to move outside of the congested city. (including VAT and Income Tax)
9. Imposing higher insurance rates to those who violate traffic rules frequently and lower rates to those who have no violation.
10. Limiting the number of cars per household.
Photo courtesy of http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com
For Dr. Sienna Brooks, the heroine in bestselling-author Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” part of a series of books on the adventures of art historian and Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon, the country certainly offered more — but it definitely not fun.
To those who don’t have the book yet and wish to read it for themselves please stop here.
Here’s how the book depicts Manila.
Dr. Sienna Brooks, a fictional character in the novel, visited the Philippines for a humanitarian mission. Initially, she thought that the country is a “wonderland of geological beauty, with vibrant seabeds and dazzling plains.”
Upon her arrival, Brooks did “gape in horror” because “she had never seen poverty on this scale.” There were “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.”
Involved in prostitution in Manila, the book states, were young children, “many of whom had been sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.”
“All around her, she could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival…when they face desperation…human beings become animals,” it read.
“We write to you with much concern regarding your recently published novel “Inferno” and its mention of Manila being defined by a number of terrible descriptions of poverty, and pollution, among others, having suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade and worse, being alluded as ‘gates of hell.'”
“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity.”
“Our faith in God binds us as a nation and we believe that Manila citizens are more than capable of exemplifying good character and compassion towards each other, something that your novel has failed to acknowledge. Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,” Tolentino said.
“We hope that this letter enlightens you and may guide you the next time you cite Manila in any of your works.”
Tolentino defended Metro Manila is being a “center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope.”
Here are my thoughts on the matter:
I think government officials and netizens are simply “overreacting.” The book is fiction so everything that the author says about Manila should just be taken as fictional and imaginary.
Government officials should focus on their job instead of riding this issue for publicity. It does hurt when you hear the (near) truth coming from an outsider. Why not just consider this as a wake up call? Manilenos elected ERAP as their mayor and they expect changes to address their socio-economic problems in Manila so why not ask the local government of Manila to start working and do their job.
Dan Brown only used Manila and not the entire Philippines. Yes, it is the country’s capital but remember that it does not depict the image of the country. The Department of Tourism should just focus on promoting and developing more tourist attractions.
Lastly, if you don’t like what’s in the book then do not buy it. Instead of criticizing the author (which is getting a lot of press because of this) and helping fuel the curiosity (that can translate to more sales), just keep in mind that it’s only but fiction.
What do you guys think? Leave your comments below.
MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) launched late last year a strategy to somehow organize public buses in EDSA by segregating them into three categories: A, B, and C with different bus stops along EDSA. (About time right?)
Here’s my observation… IT’S NOT WORKING!
Buses still load and unload everywhere and anywhere they please along EDSA. On my way to makati and back this has been the case and the MMDA Traffic Enforcers don’t seem to care or just pretend they don’t see anything.
On my way back home, the bus I was on picked up a passenger on a Bus stop B near Nepa Q Mart even though it’s only allowed to pick up passengers at Bus stop A. What happened next showed how bad corruption in the streets of Metro Manila is. A MMDA Traffic Enforcer stopped the bus and asked for the driver’s license. I was impressed at first and then I overheard the driver saying “Pababaan mo ha!” (Ask him to lower it!) to the conductor who then got off the bus and went to the MMDA Traffic Enforcer.
A few minutes passed and the conversation went like this…
Driver: “Magkano daw?” (How much?)
Conductor: “Isang Libo daw ‘pre!” (One thousand Pesos!)
Driver: “Pababaan mo naman.” (Ask him to lower it.)
After 5 minutes the conductor came back with a huge smile on his face. Handed back the driver’s license to the bus driver.
Driver: “Magkano?” (How much?)
Conductor: 250 lang! (250 Pesos)
I was shocked and saddened by this. Is it really that bad that it seems like it’s common practice to bribe an officer? It only takes USD $5 to buy a MMDA Traffic Enforcer’s dignity? And why are there 10 or sometimes more MMDA Traffic Enforcers in one spot when there is so many traffic prone areas all over EDSA? Do you need one to stand, one to wave, and one to give traffic tickets, and the other to ask for “kotong”? Why is MMDA allowing this to happen? I wish my phone wasn’t dead so I could have taken a video of the incident. Tsk tsk tsk!
Corruption more fun in the Philippines? I hope not!
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