SOMEONE, a U.S. expatriate living in this city, remarks that its traffic situation conjures in him the image of unruly kids rushing out of the school gate after the dismissal bell rings.

Bad enough, he says, that we have huge traffic jams. Worse that when the green light goes on, the cars, jeepneys, sikads, relas and trucks rush forward in utter disarray as they try to outwit each other and get ahead. Like kids who haven't been taught order, discipline or civility and become juvenile delinquents, our drivers create anarchy. Unfortunately, he adds, this is a general impression among foreigners about Filipinos.

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Are Filipinos disorderly, undisciplined and discourteous? It's how they're characterized based on the behavior of Cagayanos in traffic "They're like kids," he says.

Sad to say, he's right. Sadder still: only kids with lousy teachers, or parents, behave that way. They get spoiled, uncivilized. So also with respect to urban management: lousy leaders raise spoiled citizens. If the Mayor or some favored Councilor indulges in disorderly conduct, or trashes the law, you're bound to have spoiled citizens.

Good leaders, like good teachers, are role models. They set the example. It's something P-Noy obviously knows although he doesn't refer to himself as Amahan sa Nasud.

Our city needs a role model, not a leader who seems always to be saying "Follow what I say, not what I do... never mind what the law says, just do as I say!"

We have this situation where the "Amahan sa Lungsod" moves around in tinted vehicles, flanked by bodyguards, and, until just the other day, wang-wanging or blink-blinking his way around. With such a role model, you're bound to have spoiled citizens.

Worse, because the Amahan is no teacher, no one is taught to follow or enforce traffic rules, not even traffic enforcers. Naturally, this causes disorderly conduct, undisciplined drivers, and no road courtesy! Thus, no one, not even the enforcers, seem to know what the sign "THRU STREET" means, or NO PARKING, or JEEPNEY STOP ONLY.

To top it all, without a good teacher or role model, nobody learns that it is wrong, very wrong, to confuse road signs with liquor advertising, or any advertising at all! Drive on the roads leading to the new bridge and rotunda at Nazareth, or even midtown, and look at the directional signs that invite motorists to drink Tanduay or Fighter. While driving?

Then go back next morning and check out the left-over bottles and trash from overnight carousing on the street and sidewalk. Even adults need a teacher or role model!