Cubao to Makati in 5 minutes?

"Perhaps the President was talking about Good Friday or a Sunday when there is a Manny Pacquiao fight."


No, you’re not imagining things. That’s what President Rodrigo Duterte said he would do—cut travel time from Quezon City to Makati to just five minutes!

If we find that hard to believe, let’s just give the President his moment of hubris to fantasize. That’s great news for commuters and motorists who suffer from the daily rigor of at least two or three hours travel time on Edsa to make it to work in the Makati Business District.

Perhaps the President was talking about travel time on Good Friday or on a Sunday when the whole nation is at home watching a Manny Pacquiao fight on live TV from Las Vegas. What millions of Filipinos expect from the President is a total upgrade of both the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit. Providing an efficient public transport system is the only way to ease traffic. In New York, London, Brussels, Budapest and Warsaw, cities I have been posted to during my years as a diplomat, fewer people use their cars in going to work because their governments have set up a public rail transport system that complements and coordinates the other public transport network like buses and water ferry services. It’s the only way to discourage people from buying cars because of the unreliability of our trains.

Adding to the mad rush to buy cars is the number coding scheme that bans motorists from using their vehicles one day of the week. An employee cannot afford to be absent one day of the week, nor will employers allow it as it would affect productivity.

Will longer hours working four days a week do the trick? We don’t know since the proposal has not been tried out yet. But for sure, if implemented, that would affect family life as it would result in less time with family. Workers would be leaving for work early and arriving home late.

It’s odd that none of the senatorial candidates in the recent May 13 midterm elections took it upon themselves to suggest how they will reduce traffic. Some of them still did their song-and-dance routine to win elections and the vote of people who don’t seem to know their priorities,

Hopefully three more bridges with Chinese loans and grants will be constructed across the Pasig River to ease road traffic along Guadalupe the chokepoint between Pasig and Makati.

Meanwhile, today is Philippine Independence Day. But four Filipinos were arrested selling Chinese flags at the Luneta, one of the focal points in today’s Freedom Day celebrations. Here’s an imaginary situation concocted by a naughty Pinoy who witnessed the arrest of the Chinese flag peddlers.

POLICEMAN accosting the men: Why are you selling Chinese flags on Independence Day?

SUSPECT: Just selling flags to make some money, I’m not selling Philippine territory like the West Philippine Sea.

POLICEMAN (to a man who bought a Chinese flag): And why did you buy a Chinese flag?

BUYER: I have to go to the toilet and as you know often there is no tissue paper in those public toilets.

Don’t take this imaginary scene seriously it’s just something overheard by a few Filipinos who make jokes on just about everything. Someone said the toilet part was too crass, but someone countered: Can anything be more crass or obnoxious when another country encroaches on Philippine territorial waters, take away jobs from Filipinos and use the Philippines to manufacture shabu? Or another country dumping their garbage—include toxic hospital waste like used adult diapers—here?

Protesters and demonstrators are arrested for burning another country’s flag in public. Each individual is entitled to show his own way of displaying anger for a wrong he felt was done to him.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Freedom Day , Independence Day , West Philippine Sea , Philippines
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