Thursday, April 27, 2006

Waving pink flags is our best shot?

To push his newest wrinkle, MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando hammed it up for the cameras yesterday and got rewarded with coverage in last night's news broadcasts and in today's papers. The pictures were not exactly flattering. It showed a poker faced Fernando holding a forlorn-looking pink flag (had he been astride a horse and wearing a costume, he would have made a good impression of Don Quixote). But I must hand it to this guy; he is someone who is not scared of being called silly, or of looking the part. Where else in the world will you find something that borders on the farcical - a pink flag - qualify as an officially-sanctioned government project designed to address one of the major headaches of Metro Manila?

Fernando likes pink. I guess there is nothing wrong with pink, but did it have to be in that exact dark shade bordering on fuchsia? (There is an urband legend that says the color is actually his tribute to his wife; if this is true, I dread the thought of what will happen to our highways and buildings if he ever gets elected as President - pink sidewalks, pink electric posts, pink government buildings, pink barong tagalog. Arrrgh). Did you guys know that Metro Manila has an "official flower?" I do not know if a law was passed on this one, but if you get stuck in EDSA, try reading those small signs near the concrete posts where some scraggly vine is desperately fighting for dear life amidst all that carbon monoxide. The sign says "CADENA DE AMOR, chain of love, the official flower of the MMDA." I tell you, subtlety has never been one of Fernando's strongest suit.

But to go back to the pink flag program. I know that over-analysis kills creative ideas and that this country desperately needs more action; but please, is this the best we can do - pink flags to get traffic moving on EDSA?

I am not ranting about the seeming simplicity of the solution being offered because it is not the issue here (some solutions need to be simple, like Alex Lacson's 12 Little Things). The issue is one of proportion as well as long-term feasibility. Traffic in EDSA is a huge, gigantic, mammoth, humungous (I could go on but you get the drift) problem that requires a comprehensive, serious, well-thought out, collaborative, forward-looking solution. Solving the problem requires reducing the number of vehicles on the road, discipline, traffic enforcement, structural interventions, etc. Even a million pink flags won't hack it.

And until when can they sustain it? Unfortunately, this kind of project is totally dependent on the conscientiousness of traffic enforcers. If traffic enforcers are trained to be more consistent in enforcing traffic rules and are not known for corruption to begin with, there would not even be a need for pink flags. The presence of a traffic enforcer and a whistle would be more than enough to get buses moving.

Sadly, this kind of publicity-drawing stunt only conditions people to think nothing will actually work in this country. It perpetuates this defeatist attitude among ourselves.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir, let's wait for sometime before we shoot this "innovative" approach of BF...sometimes "simple solutions" work because the target market are those with "simple-brain-function" people like most of our "neanderthal" Bus drivers in EDSA..;-)

If this does not work in 2 weeks time..my suggestion to BF is to talk to the Phil Marine commander and ask for assistance for a tour of duty on EDSA for our soldiers. Just 2x armed-to-the-teeth marines on every bus stop in EDSA to wistle and give dagger looks at the driver and conductor everytime they do wrong on EDSA..let's see who will blink! This problem (hintayan ng pasahero, balagbagan sa EDSA) has been going on for the longest time...it's the drivers way of thinking we need to address and change here...they should know that what they are currently doing is one of the major causes of gridlock on our main hi-way...this is a mindset problem! unfortunately a great number of them are mindless...

Anonymous said...

if i'm not mistaken, MMDA enforcers aren't allowed to issue tickets anymore. i'm not sure if they've managed to hammer out a new arrangement with the LGUs regarding this, but if they haven't, it probably explains why they've sunk to these depths and are forced to implement such a pathetic scheme. still, as desperate measures go, it looks like it has a fighting chance. i say, why not try and see? every little bit helps.