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Unenforceable?

WE’RE all in this together so we might as well behave as individuals and as a group.

Not in so many words, MMDA chief Tim Orbos appealed for the cooperation of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who go through the daily grind on EDSA and other big roads that are no longer big enough – MRT-LRT, Pasig ferry, Uber and carpooling schemes notwithstanding. Even as the human and car populations grow, the truth is that compliance with the code of the road, i.e., good manners, has not kept pace.

There are some rules that just don’t seem enforceable, however. For example, Divisoria. For the city of Manila to “clear” the streets and sidewalks of Divisoria – and keep them cleared of vendors at all hours, permanently – Mayor Estrada would need an army of nannies and warriors working round-the-clock, armed with receipts for fines to be paid immediately, or armed to the teeth with menacing-looking weapons and more menacing-looking collectors. Besides which, removing the clutter, chaos, and din of Divisoria would be tantamount to removing the atmosphere of a market for the masses.

Another unenforceable rule is keeping Ortigas Ave. from looking like a parking lot on school days. When an MMDA “No Parking” sign on the gate of a private school can be defaced with impunity and insolence, what’s an enforcer to do?

Also unenforceable, prohibiting children and babies from being used by their real or surrogate parents to beg for alms on busy streets, especially now that it’s Christmas, the season of giving. No matter how often and loudly DSWD reminds us not to be touched, we give in and we give, despite the threat of a R200 fine.

On the brighter side, and if you believe Mr. Orbos, the response to a set of rules imposed by MMDA on EDSA has been positive. If traffic on that problematic highway has “improved by 19 minutes” going north to south, there’s hope – in the near term, that Commonwealth, C-5, and NaiaEx will not end up being a failed experiment; in the long term, that we learn to read, follow the signs. (Jullie Y. Daza)

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