Road Rage

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By Peter Rey Bautista

All In Good Time

Friday, January 10, 2014


FATHER of three shoots bus driver to death coming from Baguio.

Road rage like this is today something that is a regular occurrence. But what alarms me with this news item is the mere mention of this Beautiful City of Baguio.

Why in the first place shall the news item include this city? Who would care from where has some Juan just come from and begin a road rampage that would end up in the killing of an innocent party? So too would be the thought of a place being included as a party to a crime? There's just something wrong somewhere. But let's not jump into conclusion here, there must have been a reason why Baguio was included in the story. Let us go back to December 2013, there was this announcement that TPLEX would be open up to Paniqui and cut down the travel time to the city by two hours.

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Lower temperatures, a chance to be away from the hustle and bustle of the Metro and the chance to see some "snow", surely would be an enticing way to hop in the car and drive up the mountains.

The 24th and 31st declared as holidays make it even better. Suddenly every Juan is in Baguio. All the factors and conditions to create that perfect storm. And "whallah"! Hot-heads and police (who don't drive cars) doing traffic duties even in rotundas, chaos! Never have I imagined how bad traffic can be in this city. And to think that even during the Flower Festival we would not experience this, even with more than a million in attendance.

The Tourism office in the city has just said that a million were all up here. So what was the difference? The city government was quick to react by saying it is a good problem and that it is good for local business. Well, maybe? Didn't they ever realize that what was highlighted in the city is going to be a permanent reflection of what visitors would think of this city?

Will they ever return, even after the TPLEX is finished? Friends who where were in town related their disgust and coupled all of this with what they thought the city was going down and becoming even uglier.

I obviously felt insulted and wanted to take the cudgels of the city officials but apparently by siding with them I might have been putting myself on the spot. So, sorry for the city. I am one in defending the city as I have been part of what it is today, but what I experienced this time was really something I cannot understand and therefore cannot defend this time. It took me the length of South Drive a total of 3 1/2 hours! On the 25th I ran for 15 kms. in an hour. I doubt it that any car could do the same in the same route I take. It did make me smile as I was faster than any vehicle on the road. But what made me frown was the pollution and the sidewalks filled with passengers all opting to walk instead. Suddenly I had no place to run. I did end up in the street but motorists just don't know how to respect those who run or bike. I guess every juan was just too hot headed and just wanted to go home. How too can it be good for the taxi or jeeneys that traversed the city? And to think it was to run or bike that would have been the only option during that time. I drive a lot and carry a license issued to me since 1986. I bet the police who do traffic don't even drive a car? I don't blame them though, but during that time they did traffic duties and do not know what they were doing. The city employs traffic enforcers to do traffic duties and they are not policemen. What's the difference? A whole lot! There's a reason why police are trained to do police duties and nothing else, maybe allowing them to take some social studies can help but no training for traffic duties. Security guards were also made to do traffic and it also made things worse. Police should have just apprehended vehicles that were double parked, that are their job. Driving up to Baguio from Kennon and Marcos took 3 hours! So what's the fun now with coming up to Baguio. It takes me now 4 hours from my home here to my home in Alabang at the right time. Do the math. I hope the officials who made early defense of what the city has become now retract and find solutions instead and not turn a blind eye and say that it is a good problem and good for local business. I doubt that these people would come back again after witnessing 9 hour journeys to this city. Then as every Juan has gone back down it is still the same, traffic.

When one decides to shoot another because of traffic and relates that he just came from Baguio, I get it now.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 11, 2014.

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