• What good is a straight path if traffic is not moving?

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    SLOWLY and inexorably, the Aquino government, by its failure to help solve the problems of daily life, is driving many of us into impossible and desperate straits.

    Confronted by a traffic jam that wouldn’t budge, Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales alighted from his vehicle and decided to unlock the jam and direct the traffic himself. He succeeded in untangling the mess.

    Stung by his example and hoping to earn pogi points, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino came out of his foxhole the other day to face up to his responsibilities for the crazy traffic situation in the metropolis. He decided to direct traffic himself and don the cap of traffic enforcers. He thought he would endear himself to voters, because he has plans to run for the Senate in 2016. He got catcalls instead.

    An official equally responsible for the traffic situation is Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. It did not occur to him to play traffic enforcer. Given his history of indifference, he probably did not even notice Cardinal Rosales’s act of taking traffic woes into his own hands.

    A government that doesn’t think very much
    The problem as we see it is not just absent, incompetent and insensitive government officials. We think the problem is a government and a leadership that doesn’t think very much.

    First, ordinary citizens are asking this zen-like question: Of what good is having a straight path, as President Aquino keeps on preaching, if the traffic is not moving? Where are they going to go?

    One columnist of this paper found this novel solution to the traffic gridlock. He and his family simply decided to boycott the traffic. They don’t go out in the family car or ride public transport. They just subsist at home on the Internet and television and DVDs. But we have to realize that that is a sacrifice that they are forced to make because the Aquino government is so ineffective.

    Second, if the leadership will only think, it will realize that “straight path” is logically a guidepost for public conduct for public servants and citizens alike. And that should include President Aquino himself.

    The President has done nothing to spell out what straight path behavior consists of, or what the principles to follow are.

    He could say that the straight path is following the Ten Commandments. But that will not solve the traffic mess.

    It’s the system, stupid
    The really important insight that the government must comprehend is that what we face in the traffic situation in Metro Manila is a system breakdown. The system of roads, public and private transport is not working; it is totally out of balance. Government is out of its depth in coping with the challenge.

    Throwing officials under the bus is easy to say, although it’s probably part of the answer.

    What is essential is coming up with a workable plan – a plan developed by real professionals and experts.

    Cardinal Rosales’s example is an instructive one in terms of showing that people responsible must roll up their sleeves and do the job. It does not cancel the need for an expert and professional solution.

    Many have intoned no end that the traffic gridlock in the metropolis is costing the economy P2.4 billion a day.

    They have cited a study entitled “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Surrounding Areas” conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in coordination with our government agencies.

    The study says that lower-income households are the hardest hit by traffic congestion, and will remain so up to 2030 when they will spend no less than 20 percent of their income for transport.

    Perhaps the better thing to do is for Aquino and his officials to do serious work and stop talking about their straight path, which is not straight at all.

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    9 Comments

    1. Tricycle Driver on

      It’s sad and frustrating that the presidential candidates are silent on the traffic issue. What are their short and long term solutions to this problem?

      Manila Times can do a special on this by interviewing the candidates and putting their feet to the fire.

    2. For a truly ‘straight path’ government to work, the leader must first have a good idea just what the straight path is. It means appointing competent cabinet secretaries. It means punishing those who don’t do their job. It means enforcing the law. This administration has failed on all those three counts, steadfastly defending the unqualified party allies it appointed to Cabinet posts, while those supposed to uphold the law suddenly develop selective justice. If there is one word to characterize the Aquino administration it is LAZY. It not only refuses to upset the status quo it put in place, it also refuses to act on matters that would prevent problems like traffic in the future, like sitting on PPP infrastructure projects like the NLEX-SLEX Connector road that was ready since 2013 but only approved this year, to name only one.

    3. You have to fire ABAYA na pabaya sa tungkulin. AYUSIN ang Mass Transit System, pero ibigay ang trabaho sa tunay na nakakaintindi at handang gawin ang karapat dapat sa problema ,Huwag na huwag ipahawakan o i-award ang project sa KKK. KUNDI SAYANG LAMANG ANG PERA NG BAYAN.

    4. Pre ang sinasabi kong tuwd na daan ay yong daan ng lolo ko. ang trapik dyan sa atin ay panahon pa ni kopong kopong.di dapat tayo magugulat kung trapik kasi yan ang tatak natin noypi.pinapangalagaan lang ni PnoyAbnoy ang tatak natin mga noypi,sayang di tayo nasa ginis bok ob rekords.

    5. huwag na kayong umangal basta ang mahalaga ay matuwid ang daan na tinatahak natin…..kung nagugutom dahil sa kahirapan…konting tiis at busy pa sa paglalaro si Noynoy ng video games…at saka kailangan niya ng mahabang panahon para pagisipan kung anong solusyon sa mga prolema…

    6. Obviously our government opisyal dont F-ing care about the commuting public , they have to no idea what people feel ,total lack of empathy .
      In the US of A time is money , I drive 80 miles to work ,and another 80
      Miles to go back home and I do it in total of 3 hours , 1 hour 30 minutes one way and another 1 hour 30 minutes drive back home , thats equivalent to taking a bagiuo trip every day !! Kung sa pilipinas yun naka stuck pa rin ako sa Edsa . Time is money

    7. jesus nazario on

      What tuwid na daan ? Ni wala nga tayong daan or path or direction as a nation. Yung tuwid pa ? Maybe a good slogan for any of the other (than Roxas) presidential aspirants can be “Walang traffic na daan.” At least measurable and visible yon. Eh yung Tuwd na daan, ano yon talaga ? Object ba yon ? Animal ?, Ulam ? Tao ? Kasuotan ? Borloloy ? Building ? Ano ? Sirit na Mr. Henyo ! “Tuwid na daan” is a myth, an ungraspable vapor so immeasurable, so an unmanageable whatever-it-is. So what good can we expect form it ? wala, zilch, zero, nada, except a sickening propaganda.connoting nothing.