Incompetence is not a monopoly of the officials and bureaucrats at the Metro Manila Development Authority, the agency headed by its acting chairman, Tim Orbos. They face tough competition from officials at Pasig City led by Mayor Bobby Eusebio of the Eusebio political dynasty.
As if the MMDA’s windowless number-coding ban for motor vehicles isn’t arbitrary and oppressive enough, Orbos had this harebrained idea of keeping vehicles off Epifanio de los Santos Avenue during alternate two-hour segments of each regular day of the week, depending on whether the last digit of the vehicle’s license plates ends in an odd or even number. That idiotic proposition mistakenly assumed that vehicles only need to be on Edsa for no more than two hours at any one time; that the volume of vehicles on Edsa during specific hours can be predicted with certainty; and that everybody who uses Edsa uses it only at specific hours every day of the regular week. Fortunately, that stupid plan did not materialize.
Orbos thinks that only four-wheeled vehicles are the sources of traffic congestion in the metropolis. Actually, motorcycles are worse, because they contribute immensely to the traffic mess—motorcycle drivers create their own counterflow at their convenience, disregard traffic lights and ignore traffic regulations with impunity, and create traffic hazards by weaving through multi-lane roads indiscriminately.
Motorcycle drivers stopping at intersections occupy the pedestrian lanes, thus forcing pedestrians to walk elsewhere and use up the limited road space available. This further contributes to the traffic congestion at intersections, particularly at Pioneer and United Streets in Mandaluyong, Meralco and Ortigas Avenues in Pasig City, and at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
Many motorcycle riders do not comply with the helmet requirement for both driver and passenger. When they figure in a road collision without the requisite helmets, serious injuries ensue and other motorists are subjected to inconvenience.
Motorcyles are also associated with the notorious “riding in tandem” death squads that terrorize the metropolis.
Orbos also installed those orange and red road cone-markers on Edsa and other major roads like the Elliptical Road in Quezon City, even if those road markers are not properly reflectorized and pose danger to motorists at night. Perhaps Orbos will remove those road hazards only when a motorist dies after hitting one of them, and his family sues Orbos for either criminal negligence or graft.
Efficient highway traffic management requires an understanding of basic hydraulics, which posits that a roadway system can be kept continuously moving only if there are no obstacles along the way. Today, slow-moving vehicles indiscriminately use any lane on Edsa and major roadways, thus delaying the flow of traffic on those roads. Why Orbos refuses to stop these slow-moving vehicles from getting in the way of other motorists is a mystery.
The traffic problem gets worse during December each year not only because of the Christmas shopping season but also because the MMDA focuses its attention on the management of the Metro Manila Film Festival. The charter of the MMDA does not allow it to manage a film festival.
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Through their incompetence, officials in Pasig City have aggravated the traffic problem for many motorists, and not just those from the city.
Mayor Bobby Eusebio’s minions in the Pasig City Council enacted an ordinance which bans motor vehicles from city roads on alternate days of the week, depending on the last digit of the license plates of the vehicles concerned. Thus, vehicles with odd number may traverse city roads only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those with even numbers are allowed only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
That’s a 60-percent ban against motor vehicles on the city’s roads, in addition to the ban imposed by the MMDA! For instance, a vehicle with plates ending in four cannot use Pasig roads on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because of the city ordinance, and also on Tuesdays because of the MMDA once-a-week ban. In fine, that vehicle can’t use Pasig roads on four of the five regular days of the week!
Motor vehicles used by city officials, including personal vehicles of city officials, are exempted from the city ban. Even if they weren’t, what city policeman will stop a car owned by the city’s politicians and their families?
The Pasig ordinance shows that Eusebio and his zombies in the city council behave as if Pasig is not an integral part of Metropolitan Manila. Like many of the cities comprising the national capital region, Pasig is at the center of Metropolitan Manila, and serves as the gateway to the metropolis for motorists coming from Rizal province. Prohibiting more than half of all those vehicles from using the roads in Pasig will inevitably make the traffic woes of the metropolis worsen.
Since Pasig is part of the NCR, its city ordinances should also consider their consequences on the rest of the population in the NCR. Evidently, the number-coding ordinance the Pasig city council enacted is selfish and self-indulging.
The city ordinance also raises legal issues that may result in the prosecution of a number of city officials before the Ombudsman. Motorists all over the country must pay a road-users tax, which thus entitles them to use the roads. Since the maintenance of Pasig roads comes from national public funds, which theoretically includes the road users tax fund, a motorist who pays his road users tax say, in Parañaque City, partially pays for the maintenance of the roads in Pasig City. Being so, that motorist cannot be outlawed from using Pasig roads for an unreasonable length of time.
The road-use restriction in Metropolitan Manila is one day per week, while the restriction in Pasig City is three days per week. Since Pasig is part of Metropolitan Manila, Pasig should not have ordinances which conflict with the standard set in the NCR.
Unfortunately for the people of Pasig City, their local officials are incapable of rational judgment.