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President Aquino, like any other past chief executive, will always be remembered as the president – and be afforded no less respect in a collared yellow T-shirt with a cigarette in hand than when he spoke in a barong behind the presidential lectern.
He will still be addressed “Mr. President’’ even after June 30 and be revered and ultra-specially treated any place he goes as a private citizen.
One thing, though, that Mr. Aquino will have to bear after leaving Malacañang would be driving through turtle-paced traffic: every single second of the minute that stretches into hours at a standstill is without escape.
And every time, he would reminisce those days when the highway patrol and the PSG sliced through EDSA at rush hour for his car to reach the Palace in a jiffy.
The perks of not being caught for speeding past a red light and driving on the opposite lane just to meet an appointment to the dot will be enjoyed by the next president.
When he does, surely he will not be sitting back thinking of how hellish traffic must be or was when he was plain ol’ mayor.
So, as early as now, Firing Line knocks on the president-to-be’s car window to remind him to tag along Malacañang the weary, sweaty images of the driving and riding masses that rode alongside his vehicle during his campaign motorcades.
In today’s age, traffic jam is no longer a local problem but a hard-hitting menace affecting business, trade and government and public performance in their entirety.
As I have said in this corner more than two decades ago, traffic management cannot be a localized concept with a labyrinth of roads running full circles across cities big and small and towns productive or otherwise.
There had been a gazillion studies on how to ease the traffic problem and tons of proposals from various motoring, law enforcement, business and other non-governmental associations stamped to Malacañang.
All these offer rational and realistic traffic schemes and programs that have been unfortunately overlooked.
For the President-in-waiting, who knows resoundingly who he is, I pose this challenge for him: untangle the Gordian knot in the metropolis – be it Manila, Cebu or Davao – a job that has been sitting around in the middle of the street all along, waiting for able hands to show what political will is all about.
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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)