Mabel P. Villarica-Mamba

Mabel P. Villarica-Mamba

On the news last night was the new traffic scheme in Manila. Buses which do not have bus stations in the city are not allowed to enter. The most widely televised was the Welcome Rotunda where buses have to go around and back to Quezon City. No less than Mayor and e x-President Joseph Estrada and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno supervised the first day of implementation.

I admire their strong political will and determination to solve the traffic situation in Manila.

I must admit the travel from our office at the Philippine International Convention Center at the CCP Complex, traversing Roxas Boulevard, pass Quiapo bridge and the underpass, up until the boundary of Manila and Quezon city was a breeze. I thought I could get home earlier but the travel time remained the same, more or less, because of the bottleneck in Quezon City.

I wonder . . . what if other local government units (LGUs) will do the same and implement their own traffic schemes without regard to their neighboring cities and towns, paying no attention to the burden on commuters who have to shell out additional fare, ignoring the financial impact on the bus companies the profit margin of which will surely decrease.
It will be chaos.

Again, I would like to reiterate my admiration to the Manila leadership lest I be misunderstood. Perhaps they couldn’t wait any longer for the Metro-Manila Development Authority to formulate and implement a comprehensive traffic system. Although it will take a few more days, weeks or at least a month before it can really be determined if the bus ban works or not, many have expressed satisfaction this early.

As in any other leadership test, what produce results are decisiveness, determination and willpower versus ambiguity, hesitation and indecision.

This is essentially the message of PNoy’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA). While “snipers” were busy looking for what was amiss and missing, they missed what was in it; the message between the lines and behind his words; and his firm resolve to do good for the ordinary Filipino.

This is the key word: ordinary.

We have to be ordinary to appreciate the President’s SONA. We have to be a “common tao”. These were who the President was addressing last July 22—the majority of our country’s population, not the political pundit, the economic guru, and the pessimistic analyst.

If I was an informal settler and I was given a chance to own a house, I would be happy. If I don’t have a significant source of income and I have school-age children, I would be grateful to be a Conditional Cash Transfer beneficiary. If I was born and grew up in a far-flung barangay, I will be ecstatic if suddenly there was electricity and the roads are paved within my lifetime. If I am from Bangsamoro and I have been dreaming of a peaceful life in my community, I will be overjoyed with the progress in the peace process.

The President didn’t mince his words. Speaking in Filipino in his conventional conversational style, he spoke direct to the point, bluntly at times and at other times, brutally frank. This was especially true when he discussed his primary pet peeve, corruption.

It will certainly take a thick-skinned corrupt government official or employee to disregard PNoy’s warning. He may not have fired the heads of the National Irrigation Administration and the Bureau of Immigration outright but he made it clear enough to them to take the gentleman’s way out, and so they resigned.

PNoy is on the second half of his term. He has done a substantial amount of work in his first term that from being the sick man of Asia, the Philippines is now the rising tiger.

This is the key word again: ordinary.

The economic growth being experience by the country has to be inclusive. It should be felt by the ordinary man on the street, by the masses. According to PNoy in his SONA, we cannot just wait for progress to trickle down. We must seize opportunities as they come.

The government will provide the opportunities, it is up to us to strive harder and not leave anything to chance.

Thank you very much, Mr. President, on behalf of ordinary Pinoys. Tunay na kay sarap maging Pilipino sa panahong ito.


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