On my Twitter feed, I saw this article titled “It’s the cars, stupid” written by Cielito F. Habito for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Initially intrigued by the comment of the person who shared it, I clicked on the link to find the most beautiful set of words written to describe the current situation Manila has.
I work thirty kilometers away from where I live. On a weekend, it will take me an hour and fifteen minutes using public transport. While on a weekday, it takes me three hours. As a person who commutes daily from end to end of Metro Manila, I believe I am most qualified to have a say on this matter.
I couldn’t agree more with what the author of the article said. The real problem is there are too many vehicles on the roads. On a daily basis, numerous cars with only one passenger, the driver, can be seen. Public utility vehicles that are operating way behind their optimum working conditions are very rampant. The volume of traffic exceeds the capacity for which roads are designed.
I believe the solution to any city’s traffic problems is simple. First, citizens must follow all existing transportation and traffic rules. Second, the government must provide their citizens with safe and reliable means of transport. Thirdly, citizens must be able to give up their cars. And lastly, create bike lanes and pedestrian lanes.
One must argue that the suggestions listed above are long term solutions and by the time any of it comes to fruition, the state of the traffic would be unbearable. But here comes my answer to that, one must be willing to sacrifice a little to gain a little. Sure it would be difficult and uncomfortable for everyone but it is what is necessary. Everyone must be willing to do their fair share. Don’t you agree?
But is this possible with the Filipino culture?
To be quite honest, my answer is NO. Based on personal experience and judgment, I can say that many Filipinos have no manners, think highly of themselves, believe they deserve the best and most importantly lack discipline. They want everything on a silver platter.Take for example myself. I use public transport every day and I have adapted to its current system and acceptable behavior. While riding the Metro Rail Transport (MRT), I always want to be in front of the line. I will push or shove others to get there. Yet when someone does such acts to me, I get annoyed. Worst of all, when other people take notice of my attitude, I simply don’t care and tell myself everybody does that anyway. I know it sheds me in a bad light but it is a perfect example of the Filipino culture. Filipinos simply want change but do not want to change.
So I asked myself, why did that tweet irk me? Because that tweet made me realize that the real Filipino problems is not just skin deep. It is rooted deep in the Filipino culture. A deep and drastic change is needed first before things can look better for Filipinos.
Change must come from everyone’s desire and not just a few. Collectively if everyone helps, this seemingly daunting task will be easier than before.