There is a dynamic duo in Batman and Robin. Then there is the dynamite duo of Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar. Dynamite because the two, together, are imploding and bringing down the Duterte administration with their explosive, erratic ways.
After his lewd “pepe, dede” song-and-dance number to promote public awareness of federalism, Olivar outdid himself with expletives against Vice President Leni Robredo. The President had called the Veep “unfit and incompetent” to be president but he never used his favorite expletive about someone’s mother being a slut. But Olivar did—he spewed expletives. Olivar was seen and heard on a blog video file calling Robredo ‘s mother unspeakable names.
Olivar was also quoted as saying Robredo’s child studied in Harvard using “the people’s money” and the VP went on a junket to South Africa.
Ibrarra Gutierrez III, the Vice President’s spokesman and legal counsel, said he is preparing a legal suit against Olivar for oral defamation and slander. He also denied Olivar’s claim as he said Robredo’s daughter went to Harvard at the family’s own expense and the VP’s South African trip was not a junket. She participated in a human rights conference at the invitation of the host government.
Perhaps Olivar was told to hit Robredo because she spoke out against alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects. As everyone knows, EJK is a sensitive issue in President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
Sharing a ride
The government’s latest plan to ease traffic on Edsa is noteworthy. The ride-sharing scheme bans driver-only passenger cars from the major artery that funnels vehicles from the NLEX and Caloocan along the cities of Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong to the central business district of Makati.
This early, motorists are protesting the High Occupancy Vehicle or HOV rule patterned after traffic laws in the United States. But then, the local law restricts private cars with only the driver in them during the rush and peak hours of 6 am to 9 am. The protesters claim it would be difficult to have others join you as passenger particularly if you don’t know them that well. But this can done through neighborhood groups or associations and finding out who among them, including family members are going in the same direction of offices or schools.
Anyway, the MMDA dry run banning drivers only is confined to Edsa. Motorists without any passenger can still use alternate side roads. They complain, however, that the side streets are still clogged with illegally parked vehicles, including jeepneys and pedicabs.
The root of the problem is really the sheer volume of vehicles in Metro Manila. Even middle-class families are buying at least two cars to get around the number coding scheme caused by the government’s lack of master plan for an efficient public rail transport system. Daily breakdown is the norm of the Metro Rail Transit. Last Wednesday, MRT passengers had to open their umbrellas inside the train because of rain going through the roof of the carriages. This is government efficiency for you. If the President fired the whole board of the Philippine Village for alleged graft, he can do the same to all the government officials of the Metro Rail Transit for monumental mismanagement.
Aside from the badly-run MRT, there is also organized inefficiency in rice sales and distribution. The price of domestic rice is three times more than the cost of imported rice from Vietnam, according to market analysts. The President has warned distributors that he would go after them for hoarding the basic commodity and driving prices up.
But then, sacks of imported rice were soaked by continuous rains at the pier because Customs officials didn’t cover them with heavy canvas. Left wet, the rice was spoiled instead of being consumed by poor families who can’t afford the commercial variety. It’s about time the President called to task officials of the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority for gross negligence—the DA for not having any visible program to spur rice production after almost three years of the Duterte administration and the NFA for failing to go after rice hoarders and to put a lid on spiraling rice prices.