No place like Manila

There is simply no place like Manila and its environs and suburbs that is collectively known either as Metro Manila, Greater Manila Area, National Capital Region or Region 4-A.

The confusion doesn’t end there. There is a Cabinet member called chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority that was originally conceived by President Ferdinand Marcos with his wife Imelda who was appointed the governor of Manila Development Authority (MDA).

The former first lady Imelda Marcos was all powerful being the wife of the President but those days are gone now with the creation of the MMDA and everything we abhor like a new breed of kotong cops called traffic enforcers who would not rather enforce the law.

The latest example is the refusal of motorized pedicabs called kuliglig. They are illegal per se but their drivers insist that because of their poverty and failure to land jobs, they have the right to violate the law and create chaos on the street to the detriment of law-abiding citizens.

The kuliglig, the pedicab, the tricycle, the taxi, jeepney and bus drivers all have the same belief that they are exempted from the law by virtue of their poverty. To them, driving is an honorable job.

They don’t mind if they hurt and kill passengers, pedestrians and fellow motorists or destroy private and property for as long as they can earn money by all means for their families. How honorable indeed are these drivers.

Meanwhile, the MMDA remains suspiciously ineffective because its chairman doesn’t know if he is traffic
cop, too, or a chairman of an authority that has no authority over the mayors.

One mayor though thought enough is enough and has to do something at last on the issue of the kuliglig drivers, a function of MMDA that thinks his sole duty is to look at Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (Edsa) day in and day out to figure out what’s wrong with Edsa.

Manila Mayor Fred Lim banned the kuligligs but the drivers who have no drivers’ licenses in the first place protested and blocked the main thorough fares and threatened to return to their bad ways like murdering people, raping women, robbing people, banks and the citizenry,  unless they are”legalized.”

There is anarchy everywhere. There is no word from the Executive Secretary about the traffic chaos and definitely no word from the President himself. There is now word from the Quezon City mayor who also doesn’t have an inkling of the many traffic deaths that have occurred in the area.

There seems to be no one to be minding the store. Everybody in the bureaucracy is busy minding their own business while the President is busy defending his Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the party list congressmen and their lawyers were all denouncing Mayor Lim for the dispersal and arrest of the kuliglig drivers. As usual, they look at it as an affront to their human rights and dignity.

The kuligligs are the new nuisances of Metro Manila. They are almost everywhere. They are like the pedicab drivers who similarly do not have licenses and the tricycle drivers who park anywhere they want,load and unload passengers and drive against the flow of traffic.

The monstrous traffic situation in Metro Manila will never be solved unless the laws are followed.

All transportation authorities do, from the kotong cops to the kotong MMDA enforcers, from the MMDA officials to the secretary of transportation and communication, is to experiment and experiment hoping they would finally find a solution. Where are the bright boys from Harvard and the exclusive schools like Ateneo and La Salle?  Raul Valino


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