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Early rush

MR. and Mrs. M sold their house near UP Balara because their daughter was a victim of traffic torture every day that she went to school at The Fort in Taguig. Now they live in a condo a few short minutes from the school.

My eye doctor reset his clinic hours to opening time at 6 a.m. (!) and closing at 4 p.m. His staff and patients, including out-of-towners, welcome the change as one clever way of beating the traffic.

Carmen started sending out her Christmas goodies on the first Sunday of October, followed by a senator with her baby anthuriums one week later.

The rush toward the longest Christmas has just begun in earnest. As his early Christmas gift, MMDA’s Tim Orbos has closed the window hours on 18 more streets on coded days. Wanna bet, those routes plus the ones already in place on EDSA, C-5, Alabang-Zapote, Roxas Blvd. et al. won’t be the last, the bias against cars being as obvious as the potholes that stud our streets.

Speaking of which, it’s a mystery why no one in MMDA and Department of Transportation has called attention, louder and louder, to “tiwangwang” as a major but avoidable cause of traffic jams. Tiwangwang includes street diggings, repairs, maintenance works that are fully abandoned, semi-abandoned, about to be abandoned, for all the reasons that their contractors can invent – right-of-way issues, rainy weather, obstacles like pipes and drainage, etc. – even if they never mention their refusal to hurry up the pace of work by giving overtime, holiday and night differential pay.

Nor do they admit that they lack funds, equipment, manpower, and the spirit of public service.

One example, right in the City of Manila, a series of aggravations along a long stretch of A. Mabini, in front of SM at the back of City Hall, along San Marcelino, and in front of WHO on UN Ave. Due to the tiwangwang, the streets, originally narrow to begin with, have lost more than half of their usefulness, and yet to the callous contractors, it is business as usual – just because those streets are not regulated like a highway? Maybe not, but it’s highway robbery! (Jullie Y. Daza)