Sunday, October 17, 2010

The problem with the Philippines IS...

On my way to giving a lecture last Thursday, while traversing the traffic of Metro Manila, someone asked me what I thought of the ODD-EVEN scheme that the MMDA is proposing to implement along EDSA.

As if our troubles of having to share the road of Metro Manila with these public utility vehicles were not enough with the number coding scheme (it's the last number on the plate number of our cars that determines whether you can use your car for the day or not).

THe proposal of the MMDA is to make all cars whose numbers end in ODD not allowed entry into EDSA on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those that end in EVEN not allowed to access EDSA on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sanamagan! What an idiotic idea!

The discussion ended with me giving a treatise of the actual scenario of the Philippines.

Is there hope for the Philippines?

NO. Even if PNoy had himself castrated live on TV, I seriously doubt that there would be hope. Not in this generation. Not in this lifetime.

I am not being anti-nationalistic here. Believe me when I say that I love this country, in spite of all the faults of the people running it. But I can only share my love so much. Seriously, I am no martyr and am not willing to take a bullet for the other idiots that seem to be pathetically embroiled in so much graft and corruption.

I am sad to say that the people running this country (or even the local government at the very least) are clueless (and that's a kind word to describe them). Whatever experience they have or whatever credentials in governance they claim to have has no bearing on their capability to run this nation.

The basic problem of the Philippines is lack of DISCIPLINE. This is the core problem of the people of this nation. This is the problem that is impossible to tackle unless with an iron fist. At the rate we are going, all these limp wrist government officials are simply providing temporary solutions to a permanent problem. Daig pa nila ang mga bakla sa pagiging balimbing at pusong mamon!


What are rules and regulations and laws for if no one can follow them or implementing them will always have exceptions to these so-called rules?

You will have to agree with me that it takes a monumental love for country by each individual citizen to imbibe the culture of discipline.

The logic here is simple.

The MMDA claims that some school called University of the Philippines studied the traffic problem in Metro Manila and said that the sheer volume of private car owners traversing EDSA is a major reason for the congestion along this highway. Well call me silly and call these researchers stupid, but honestly, this was a myopic view of the actual problem on EDSA.

First is the fact loading and unloading in various public vehicle areas is the major problem of this country (not only Metro Manila). People think that when they stop a jeep or bus or tricycle in the middle of the road, that vehicle must come to halt and pick up their majesty. While there are loading and unloading areas for public vehicles, have you ever seen a place that loads and unloads them properly? These public vehicles will always jockey for passengers. Why? Because they are all paid based on commission or what the operators call boundary. Which means that they earn whatever excess of the minimum amount each operator allows them.

Traversing EDSA, on your right window you will see the buses. I counted the buses on the way to Novaliches from the same starting point. Bus 1 had 5 passengers, Bus 2 had 4 passengers, Bus 3 had 8 passengers, Bus 4 had 10 passengers, Bus 5 had 6 passengers, Bus 6 had 2 passengers, Bus 7 had 9 passengers and all these buses were headed for the same direction. The conductors and barkers were busily shouting their destination and of course, waiting for passengers to load the bus at the Guadalupe area. Why do we need all these buses which are practically not full? Gimme a break! One bus can put all these passengers (and still have extra space even if the passenger carried a pig as a carry on baggage) and head towards the same destination without hovering the already crowded highway. So why then blame the private cars?

The roads in the Philippines are NOT enough for ALL of the cars and public vehicles. Period.

But it does not mean that the private cars will need to make the ultimate sacrifice for these public vehicles. It is but logical that as more cars are available, there is less need for public vehicles. This is again secondary logic. Of course having more cars will mean that there more people can use their own vehicles moving from Point A to Point B without the need for public vehicle. Hence, as more cars are on the road, there should be logically less public vehicles accessing the same route. Simple logic. Something these people at MMDA lack. No brainer!

I am not saying that we remove all the public utility vehicles. The law of supply and demand is basic economics - you need to reduce them as well. Put a schedule for public transportation. Put only what is required and time the next destination. Why is it that we're willing to wait for the next train if we're taking the MRT? But if it's the bus or jeep or tricycle, it's got to be a royalty approach - they pick you up where you want to ride and if you could drop them off right at the doorstep of their house, so be it!

And media in all its claim of fair game, will always try to get the side of Claire de la Fuente who apparently heads the buses association. She should just go back to singing and not trying to defend what is only in their own vested interest. The impact to the Philippine economy of losing $2B a year on wasted time for having to traverse EDSA is not enough even if Claire sang gazillion songs a day! Or had all their buses burned!

My heart bleeds to the poorer people who need these so-called jobs to feed their family. I will be blunt. They should get a life. Is being a barker a job? Jeez! When they apply for a job in another country, they can type down in their resume - BARKER at Guadalupe EDSA. M*th*rF*ck*rs!! Legitimate jobs require that they PAY taxes. Do they even pay taxes? I seriously doubt that. They pay tithes - sin taxes to all those Kotong Officers (MMDA and policemen). And that includes these public utility drivers that earn their daily wages using the boundary method. They are legally employed! It's no wonder that when accidents occur, they scamper off and go into hiding, only to find another job in another public vehicle company another day! And private vehicles owners like you and I have to pay road taxes, incredibly high taxes on our cars, insurances at sky rocketing rates to protect our cars against public utility vehicles because when you get into an accident with them, the driver will just scratch his head and his balls and say that they have no money to pay (what ever happened to the third party liability) and the operators are simply in cahoots with the police officer who will make the police report so that they're scot free from liabilities.

Alright. So I am being mean. No, let's change that. I am degrading these nincompoops who need to get a life. Sarcasm is my middle name.

So these people are poor. But being poor is not an excuse for being stupid and not being disciplined. Discipline is the hallmark of any industrialized society. Unless we learn to cross at the pedestrian lanes, not spit on the road anytime our throat itches, pee on the walls with those tiny Pinoy penises hanging out in all the glory and splendor of yellow piss watering the steaming asphalt roads, learn to fall in line and wait for our turn, follow directions that are already splattered all over the walls and in our faces, load and unload in designated areas, have lesser graft and corruption so that proper urban planning for the metropolis is the rule of the game (and not see every SM or Ayala Mall shop rise somewhere in the middle of all the urban jungle), kids who are underaged should not be on the driver's seat raring to show off to their pathetic friends that they know how to drive, that texting while driving is dangerous not only to your life but to everyone as well, that everyone who drives a motorcycle should wear a motorcycle helmet and not some industrial hat and so on and so forth...


What do you expect to teach a young boy who rides with his father who is a tricycle driver about discipline if the father picks up passengers in the middle of the street and then pees against the wall of a house? The boy will think what the father is doing is cool. It's right. "If TATAY can do it, so can I."

There was a Nestle commercial a few years ago that ran a theme on DISCIPLINE. In the eyes of a child, what they see their parents do, they follow it blindly - thinking that its alright since the parents do it and get away with it anyway. They grow up that way and another generation bites the dust.

I remember that a few days ago when I arrived from San Francisco, the queue at the immigration area of the NAIA was long because all the other airlines had arrived. It was jampacked with OFWs. I went to the designated lane - Residents. I saw that the lanes for Visitors were also occupied by these OFWs and other Pinoys on my flight. It was after all a shorter queue, but really why is it that when these idiots see these signs in another country like Singapore or HongKong or the US, they fall in line properly? What is in the Filipino that when he is in his motherland, he does not seem to want to follow directions? It's like "Welcome Home" to the Philippines where the Filipino lives in anarchy. I was wondering how the foreigners on the same flight I took thought of the Filipinos. No read, no write! And we get angry when somebody lambasts us about being stupid! We have only ourselves to blame.

I took my queue, took out my iPhone and began playing a game while I was in line. There was this sneaky woman who saw that our line was moving faster so she sidled up to my side and started cutting the line. I think she thought that since I was busily playing "Angry Birds", I wasn't minding the line. It was not her day. I snapped at her at gave her a dagger look.

"Are you in line?"

She retorted proudly - "yes".

"Don't make me look stupid. You are not the person who's in front of me. Where is your line?"

Then she sheepishly points the other lane.

"Go back to your line. You Filipinos have no discipline at all. Go away and die."

She then sidled back to her queue.

I think she thought that I was a foreigner (of course with my looks and accent I am always mistaken for one). It's shameful to be berated over something as simple and as basic as DISCIPLINE.

But the Filipino has a thick hide. Over the years of stupidity and mediocrity and graft and corruption, we have been callused over the idea of instilling discipline among ourselves. Our reason - if the rich and powerful can do it, then so can we. A distorted reason but reality in the clearest sense of the word.

The one way conversation over the ODD-EVEN scheme ended when I got to my destination. The guy I was having a conversation was quiet and then said that he totally agreed with me and felt really sad about the situation in the country. We have a basic lack and that needs to get addressed today if we plan to change this country in the next 25 years. Enough with the temporary solutions to permanent problems. Enough with having to give in to the poorer sector of society. They will survive and they do not need dole outs in order to live. Seriously, they can just all join the various game shows and reality shows and somehow will manage to make ends meet. We need to stop making poverty an excuse for being pathetic and lazy.

I hate comparing us with other countries, but I cannot help it. Filipinos are as gentle as lambs when they are in Never Never Land but as ferocious as wolves when they are in their own country. You see them obey rules and regulations and laws in another country. They will not chew gum, they will cross pedestrian lanes, they will wait for the bus as scheduled, they will car pool when needed, they will wait in line.

The problem with the Philippines is the Philippines. We make too many exceptions to the rule. Ang problema - lahat gusto maging bida!

{Note: Photos from Panoramio by Dudz and free photo share]

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