• On our own


    IF there is ever a compelling reason for Congress to keep pushing for lower taxes, it was the horrendous traffic caused by a heavy but relatively short downpour on the night of September 9, where we saw complete chaos on the roads and the absence of government.

    If this is what a couple of hours of rain can do to the Philippine capital, I hate to see what could happen if we were in a direct path of storm.

    And taxpayers trapped by the floods and standstill traffic last Tuesday were bound to ask, is this where our taxes go? (Or perhaps more appropriate, is this where our taxes are wasted?)

    At the end of the day, the government should be responsible for the welfare of its citizens. Government officials have to make sure that the people are okay, especially during times when they need help the most and can’t do things on their own, like when they are caught helpless like in the midst of flashfloods.

    This is where the administration really disappoints. It does not matter whether it is a superstorm like Yolanda or a short downpour like Tuesday’s, the apathy and lack of action blatantly shown by this administration sends a strong message to the people that they are on their own.

    Most of its officials are too busy campaigning to help take care of traffic and flooded streets.

    To these government officials pining to be on the administration ticket, do not be too sure that President Aquino’s endorsement, or that being on this so-called “tuwid na daan” ticket is a sure way to a Senate seat or some other elected post.

    Please. At this point, if you keep mucking up your jobs, being on the administration ticket would be a kiss of death.

    In this tiring “tuwid na daan” theme, it is not merely enough not to be corrupt, which most people are already doubting this administration is not–what with DAP and the pork barrel mess that involves its own people and Customs and other agencies still plagued by the usual corruptions—people expect competence as well.

    Do your jobs and try to at least help our overtaxed citizens when they need help. You cannot blame taxpayers if they feel that the government is glad to take their money but makes a disappearing act when its services are needed most. Certainly not those caught in the so-called “carmageddon” on Tuesday night.

    Francis Tolentino’s performance as the head of the agency responsible for traffic management in Metro Manila is pathetic.

    If anything, Tolentino, who has been going around the country, already campaigning for his Senate seat, makes for a very valid argument in calling for the abolition of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

    His excuse that he was also stuck in the horrendous traffic mess on Tuesday is no excuse and is in fact a stronger argument for his removal because of his ineptitude.

    If he wants to spare his agency from redundancy he should just resign. The fact that no less than the President has taken Edsa traffic management away from the MMDA and given it to the Highway Patrol Group speaks volumes about Tolentino’s leadership.

    If he is banking on his MMDA position as political capital for his Senate run then I doubt he would get many votes.

    During Tuesday’s heavy downpour, MMDA people were hardly seen, just like their boss.

    Tolentino was mayor of Tagaytay City for nine years from January 1995 to 2004 before he became MMDA chairman. Just take a look at the horrendous traffic in Tagaytay and all the wrong turns it took in its so-called development. This alone shows Tolentino’s lack of technical knowledge in solving Metro Manila’s traffic problem and why he should not head the MMDA.

    And after MMDA’s traffic powers and management of Edsa has been clipped, what use is left for the government agency?

    Local governments have vested powers to perform the MMDA’s functions.

    A lot of cities in the metropolis, including Manila and Makati, have been following their own traffic schemes for some time.

    The MMDA supposedly handles other functions aside from traffic management, like coming up with an overall development plan for Metro Manila, and providing an environmentally sustainable solution to the metropolis’ garbage problem. But it must be determined if these too cannot be performed by the mayors and their umbrella organization, the mayor’s league.

    In order to improve the quality and efficiency of government services, we must eliminate and minimize overlaps and duplication in the functions and responsibilities of government agencies.

    Again, people would find no need to blame the MMDA if the agency had only solved the traffic mess, or reduced it significantly, or if its chairman had been doing a better job.

    Do your job first, Mr. Tolentino, and your votes will come later.


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    1. All this is the result of lack of foresight. This traffic jam didn’t happen overnight. It was slowly building up over time. It is unfair to blame this megatraffic to just one person. Beside who is driving? Who decides to stop his big big bus in the middle of the road and WAIT for passengers? It is the driver who decides to swerve or park his car in a 2 lane busy street and dont mind the traffic he will create. WAKE UP & GET REAL- it us “the drivers” who creates traffic. On top of this, i think it started so many years ago when development was concentrated in Metro Manila. EDSA can no longer accommodate the number of vehicles especially now that cars are made affordable. Artery road are either too small or parked with parked cars, stalled vehicles, temp. Stores that became permanent etc. As the poulation increases in MM because jobs was here Our road infrastructure didn’t grow as fast as businesses. unfortunately, I think there is no quick solution anymore. Traffic just needs to be managed.. managed consistently. Long term solution- encourage private business to build it the provinces-subic/zambales, clark/pampanga. Road Infrastructure is already existing and has been enhanced as well with SCTEX, TPLEX, CAVITEX and all orher expressway opened. this will encourage people to go back to the provinces! who wants to live in waterless, traffic and polluted city? DECONGEST population in Metro Manila.

    2. The incompetence of the basic maintenance of Metro Manila’s streets is not being done properly since there is no synchronicity, the water pumps are not working in the best condition, the drainage system of streets are clogged, the railways malfunction and the markets are in the streets. Now why don’t they place their heads together and solve the problem everyday in that way things get moving in the best direction. It shows that people are not doing their jobs in the best way possible to achieve excellence. They like the power in the job but they lack performance to achieve the task. Metro Manila is not yet a modern city.