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Xmas standstill

If I could avoid it, I resist making unnecessary trips to Manila. Unfortunately, last October 18, I had official business to attend to, and in my head, after accomplishing my itinerary would straight-away, catch the first flight available back to Cebu. From NAIA 2 to SM Makati, I was experiencing a travel time of 2 hours. That is excluding 1 hour plane travel and the increasing 20/30-minute delay when Manila Tower redirects the plane to fly around in circles – a holding pattern – since there is also traffic in the runway.

This all means “cost” for every Filipino – half a day wasted. For a nation this is billions of pesos in economic/opportunity lost daily due to traffic, congestion in urban living, plus deteriorating environment in Metro-Manila (MM). Since 2014, majority of my clan has packed-up, left MM, and returnedto the roots of our birth. A sort of “Balik-Probinsya” Program should be encouraged by government, as well, before the tipping point when “evacuation” is the only solution to signs of minimization in livable spaces.

I recall an experiment, decades back by scientist with laboratory mice, the “social inter-action” was monitored in a huge glass cage. Every week, a new rat would be added, the rate increased to 5 a month. The volume of food and number of female introduced was a constant (regulated). Their findings as congestion increased: noticeable scramble for and or “stealing” of food; increased agitation, fights and constant biting; dirty surroundings; less time for personal grooming; general loss of weight; bullying over identified runts; “corner” territories etc.

There is an ideal balance between increased population or migration, urban space, food and leisure that is required in what is a hospitable social environment. National government erred focusing on the capital as center for investment, development etc. Local governments are supine, and the physics no longer ideal. It is the business man dictating urban planning/development for all government. And the effects are Edsa-like e.g. Tagaytay, Cebu, soon Dumaguete, Davao etc. The emergency powers will not make Lazarus rise. In fact, this Xmas in MM, expect stands-stills and parking on the road. (Erik Espina)