Heaven help us

The secretary of transportation, Arthur Tugade, told the public that prayers and trust were needed because the problem faced by the Metro Rail Transit are wide and deep.

The government recently canceled its contract with BURI, which was supposed to render maintenance works to keep the MRT in good condition.

But if there was any word that would describe the state of the MRT, “good” would not be it. In fact, just the opposite would be true.

For some reason, it took this administration’s transportation officials more than a year to come to their senses and cancel a contract that clearly had the government—hence the people—at a gross disadvantage. It also took them a while to haul the former officials responsible for this anomalous deal to court.

The only explanation for the glacial pace with which they acted is a lack of empathy. After all, we are certain Mr. Tugade and his underlings are not wont to take the train as part of their everyday routine. They do not thus have the faintest idea how it feels like to stand in line for hours, lose themselves in a sea of bodies equally desperate to get to work or school, board a train bursting at the seams—only to be made to alight halfway to their destination because of some glitch. If they are lucky, the glitches cause just inconvenience, it could have caused harm, or injury.

We have no way of knowing the DoTr’s next steps after junking BURI. The pitiful state of the trains continues. Hundreds of thousands of commuters still have to use them—what is the plan?

We agree with Mr. Tugade that the problems are wide and far and deep. We cannot accept, however, that he should ask us to pray for a solution. A reliable public transport system does not come with grace. It is the direct consequence of careful planning and meticulous execution by people hired to do the job. You do not just pray your troubles away—you actually do something about the situation and nudge things to the outcome you want. Especially if you fall under the Executive branch of government.

But if our leaders are the first to sound defeated by the problem, then maybe it would be correct to utter—“Heaven help us.”

Topics: Arthur Tugade , MRT3 , DoTR
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