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Traffic horror stories

Vehicles stalled bumper-to-bumper for hours, engines running and emitting deadly fumes, frayed nerves, aggravated ulcers, abusive motorists, road rage, delayed or cancelled appointments, lost manhours.

They have become the new normal in most parts of Metro Manila today. The sad thing is no solution appears to be in sight, at least for the near term.

Irate commuters and motorists can only give vent to their frustrations via social media. Here are some of their posts:

PL (a mother of two) narrated: “Soooooobrang traffic…. We took the skyway bus from Alabang South Station, thinking it will be a lot faster going to Ayala, Makati. We were at Nichols by 4:45 pm. But the traffic was hardly moving. I could have reached my destination faster had I walked. But I had my two young kids and their yayo with me. We reached Magallanes at 7 pm. My golly. Nichols to Magallanes. 2 hours and 15 minutes!!!

SPM (who works with an air line company) complained: “Terminal 3 to Quezon City took us 4 hrs 45 mins last night (Thursday).

POB (a lady lawyer) texted: “Traffic crawling on EDSA, but these SUVs (plate numbers withheld) are using their sirens to bully their way through. Grrrrrr.”

CPC (a bank executive): “I have to leave my place not later than 6 am to reach the office at Makati by 7:30. That means waking up before 5 each morning. In the afternoon, I stay an extra two hours in the office to allow the traffic to ease up before going home.”

MGC, (a househelp) takes the PNR train going south. She said: “Matagal talaga maghintay sa tren. Pag nakasakay ka na napakasikip naman. Sobrang siksikan. Kung ano ang puesto mo pagsakay, ganoon ka na lang hanggang sa bumaba. Hindi na pinagbibigyan kahit yung mga senior citizens at mga buntis. Nagtitiis na lang kami dahil mura sa tren (P15) kumpara sa bus (P30).”

How do many Metro Manilans cope with the problem?

Those who can, just try to avoid travelling as much as possible. Or they program their appointments on less busy hours. Between 10 and 2 would be relatively light.

A group of female Bangko Sentral employees pooled their resources together and rented a condo unit close to office.

The added cost is worth it, according to them, compared to the aggravation which they used to suffer when they commuted daily.

Those who can, try to bring home some paper work and read them during the commute. Others listen to music, watch videos or play games.

Friends travelling together in a van spend the time swapping stories. I once travelled with a group of Bangko Sentral friends travelling from Alabang to Edsa. We negotiated the skyway in four hours! But we did not mind because one had everybody else laughing because of his non-stop jokes.

But what if one has to go in the middle of the traffic?

Those with problems controlling their bladder now smartly use adult diapers.

Smart travellers make it a point to go to the rest room first before making that tortuous journey. Others who are not so prepared just have to improvise en route.

KFC (a female graduate student) confessed sheepishly: “ Once, I really really had to go. And there was no gas station in sight. Lucky for me I found this plastic bag. I asked my driver to step out, rolled up my heavily tinted windows, and peed into the bag. Glad I did not miss.”

A friend saw a taxi driver who apparently could no longer hold while caught in the very heavy traffic. The driver just stepped out of the cab which was parked right in the middle of the road. Using the door to shield himself, the driver did his thing while the embarrassed lady passenger looked the other way.

So how long do we have to put up with all of these?

President Rody Duterte has a simple straight-forward answer. It will take time to solve this mess which we have neglected for so long. But if you want a quick remedy, give me emergency powers.

Batting for responsible mining
Mario Luis Jacinto, DENR Undersecretary and concurrent Mines and Geosciences (MGB) Director, is a re-assuring voice to the mining industry. To the responsible miners, that is.

Articulate, obviously qualified and straightforward, Jacinto vows that the MGB will serve with the highest degree of professionalism, integrity and honesty.

He is quick to acknowledge that the mining industry faces many challenges. But at the same time he gives credit to the industry that also has a “lot to contribute for meaningful development” and which has “made positive change possible in the lives of many communities in the past centuries.”

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(Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye)