ILIGAN City Rep. Frederick Siao announced last weekend that he would be filing a bill, the proposed “Public Servants’ Commuting via Public Transport Act,” which seeks to require high-ranking government officials to commute using public transport every Monday. Public transport may take the form of jeepneys, buses, trains, tricycles and transport network vehicles (TNVS).
What do you think will these government officials take? Of course none other than the “pseudo-private” TNVS. Will the proposed law ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila? I don’t think so. In my opinion, it will even worsen the traffic condition in the metropolis.
Let us take a look at the mathematics of this thoughtless proposal. There will be at least one less government car in the road per government official every Monday. But there will be one more TNVS on the road — the one occupied by the same government official. No perceptive net effect on the volume of motor vehicles.
From the side of the public commuters, there will be one more “competitor” in the scarce publicly available transport resources. Instead of alleviating the plight of commuters, this senseless bill will even aggravate the situation.
It seems that this lawmaker has been ill-advised, or totally unaware of the realities of the traffic problem besetting the nation. Whatever it is, this simply reflects the poor quality of some of the lawmakers that we have at the House of Representatives.
Unless the mass transport systems are improved and made efficient, Siao’s proposal will not make the grade.
What is a better solution? Siao could have proposed a “Public Servants’ Share-A-Ride Gesture Act” instead. Under this proposal, all public officials with government-issued vehicles should drive their vehicles themselves and pick up at least four public commuters on the road every Monday morning and after office hours. Simple math will kick in. There will be four less public commuters on the road every Monday for every running government vehicle. If there are a thousand government vehicles traversing the roads on Mondays, there will be 4,000 commuters who would be happy and comfortable on that particular day.
‘Wang wang’ culture lives on
I am not a big fan of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo but I totally agree with her advice to other government officials to shun using sirens. She said on Sunday that the “wang wang” is an insult to ordinary Filipino commuters. Robredo is definitely right.
I have already brought up this topic several times in this column. I have sent messages to the officers of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) about the blatant use of sirens by certain individuals — both public and private — but they still persist. It seems that the MMDA and the PNP are tolerating this kind of behavior, or they are just afraid to apprehend those “powers-that-be” who are using sirens.
It is indeed irritating to us motorists, suffering hours of traffic on the road, when all of a sudden motorcycle riding cops, with sirens blaring, would wave us off to the roadside to allow some “son-of-a-gun” vehicle to breeze through. Well, this is unfairness at its height and a pure display of arrogance and entitlement.
Every week, without fail, I encounter these happenings. Last Thursday, as I was driving along the service road of Roxas Boulevard, a convoy of two motorcycle cops and two white vans, with blaring sirens, counter-flowed in my path. I caught this on video, which I will be sending to Top Gear Philippines.
I suggest to the netizens and the motorists to start shaming these siren users until they stop pestering us. Motorists can post pictures and videos in the Facebook page of Top Gear Philippines to shame these heartless “wang wang” people.
Traffic in elevators, too
Traffic congestion is not confined to our road networks only. The Makati City Hall elevators, in their horrendous state, are one example.
I attended a client’s court hearing this week at a Makati court. It took me a little over an hour to reach Makati City Hall from where I reside, another 15 minutes looking for a parking space, and a good 30 minutes to board the elevator. The elevator was so long, snaking from end to end of the floor’s lobby. Imagine, 30 minutes just to wait, ride and reach the 15th floor of the Makati city hall!
Some of the elevator passengers told me that this had been going on for months. Can the Makati local government unit find a solution to this problem? For one, ensure that all the elevators are operational at all times. Second, allow other riders to be accommodated in the executive elevator, which is not always full of local officials anyway.
The elevator passengers have traveled for hours to reach city hall. Please give them a respite by providing them with fast elevator service.
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