Secretary Babes, how could you?-A A +A
By Mina Paras
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
IT SOUNDS like a done deal. The MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) is bent on making life for Metro Manila residents, transients, students and yes, tourists, hell on earth. Those who have traversed EDSA during rush hours, and at all times during Fridays and Saturdays when there's an exodus of students and workers going home to the provinces, know exactly what I mean. Even now that there's no construction going on yet, EDSA is already an endangered place, with the not remote possibility that it will morph into a giant parking space.
As it is, even just one stalled truck, or a vehicular accident in any part of Metro Manila will already affect the entire mega city; can you imagine what happens if EDSA is rendered impassable? Last I was in the big city, going from Quezon City to Makati, I did not notice anything that needed repairs. At least, nothing that cannot wait until a better time such as during summer when most of the student population is out of town, in the provinces. Even then, traffic does not ebb much.
I am so disappointed at the DPWH too -- Secretary Babes, how could you? -- for acceding to this ill-timed - and unnecessary - move to make EDSA, so says MMDA's Francis Tolentino, "as smooth as NLEX and SLEX." Why, Mr. Tolentino, do we need to make it so when, no matter how you cut it, EDSA will never be smooth enough to allow unimpeded and fast flow of traffic?
Everyone and his brother know that there are just too many vehicles on the road which the number coding scheme didn't succeed in minimizing. No way can a vehicle careen at 80 to 100 kilometers an hour on Edsa, except during Holy Week, when it becomes a veritable ghost town. (Of course you know where people are - to Baguio, Tagaytay, Boracay, and other vacation places.)
I wonder if it is true, as some columnists insinuate, that the billions to be allotted for this questionable project are election-related?
Supposedly, the funds to be squeezed out of this will be for the benefit of the President's political party. If it is so, how could you, Mr. President? There are so many more roads that need repairs, if you will just care to look.
If this "repair" pushes through, Pnoy will be known as the president who made Metro Manila a hellish place to live in. I kid you not, it will be hell once this "repair" starts.
The long-awaited final completion of the C5 that leads to the NLEx, the part near UP and Tandang Sora, has just started. There are diggings everywhere and the newly-completed section of road has become a two-way street instead of four. A cab driver I rode in last week commented, "Bakit ngayon lang nila ginagawa, and tagal na dapat niyan?" As the columnist conjectured, it's an election-related violation of people's money. Apart from the fund-raising, one other reason may also be what former Quezon City mayor Mel Lopez once said to this writer: "People only remember the last thing that you did." And that is why, he averred, he started construction of his projects during the latter part of his term.
I worked for former Senator Sotero 'Teroy' Laurel, whom people said was "the better Laurel" (the other being brother Doy, former VP of the Philippines), at a time when senators were less quarrelsome and better-mannered. One time the senator received a call. He told me that it came from a fellow senator, one who's still a senator now , who asked him to "please do not return your savings, it makes the rest of us look bad." The savings referred to in this case was the money saved from running the office, including office space rental, salaries, transportation et al. The good senator, who was Senate President Pro Tempore at the time Jovito Salonga was Senate President, never dipped into office money even if an employee needed help for hospitalization and medical needs. He gave generously - from his own pocket. For that, my colleagues and I will forever remember him. His tribe died with his generation. Oh, to be fair, he told me that the only other senator who returned savings was the former Senator Lorenzo Tañada. Sadly, they don't make them like they used to.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 05, 2013.