By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Yesterday, I left our office at about 4:30 in the afternoon. Usually, I’ll be home by around 6:30 to 7 p.m. if I take the MRT (counting slow traffic).
I live in southern Metromanila but my office is along Commonwealth in Quezon City. It is fine with me to work in Quezon City because the transportation is somehow easy. There is the Skyway from Alabang to Edsa, and from Edsa I can take the MRT going to Quezon Avenue, from where I could take an FX or a jeep. If there is no heavy traffic, my travel time is two hours and 30 minutes, sometimes, if I am lucky, the trip takes only two hours and I can live with that. What I cannot live with is the ineptness of the government to solve this problem with the MRT and the traffic.
Yesterday, the MRT management suddenly cut the trip from Taft Avenue Station to Shaw Blvd only. I was at the North Avenue Station, the first station from Quezon City, at about 5:30 p.m. Standing there in anger and frustration, I had no other choice but to take the bus on Edsa. Along with other equally pissed-off MRT passengers, I was cursing the MRT management for the inconvenience, while I joined the stream of people going down to Edsa.
By around 6:15 p.m. I was already on board a bus. The traffic was light to moderate at the Edsa intersections — from Quezon avenue, Kamuning, to Aurora blvd. in Cubao. Then from moderate it went to super heavy after Cubao and my torment started there.
I knew I would be stuck in traffic so, to be productive, I started outlining the stories that I will be writing this week, texted someone to ask for a contact for my interviewee, put schedules in my planner, read a book, watched the teleserye (yes, there was a television in the bus) watched the news, and another teleserye.
I saw on the news that the MRT had to cut the trip of their trains because there was a problem with the signaling system. Then there was the news about the Senate probe on the MRT and that the commuters will continue to suffer from the MRT’s glitches until all repairs and new trains will be procured in 2016. It made my blood boil and I started to draft this blog in my notebook.
Lo and behold, by 7:43 p.m. I was still in Edsa in Ayala! The bus finally reached Magallanes bridge by 7:50 p.m., only then did the traffic went lighter and I arrived home at 8:30 p.m. That was a total of four hours of travel!
One more hour of travel time is a waste of my precious time, time which I could spend with my family, or do work or do things for myself (even for a short time, like 30 minutes).
So my thoughts went to the President, who even has the gall to seek a second term. I will not elaborate on this as my editor has written about this in Bulatlat Perspective.
As a citizen, I ask lawmakers to put their attention and immediately address problems that people are stuck with: traffic, defective mass transportation like MRT and Philippine National Railway, the continuous rise in the prices of basic commodities, the need for salary increase for workers, teachers and government employees. In the middle of all these problems, the allies of President Benigno S. Aquino III are pushing for term extension.
Please stop making lies that the people’s lives are getting better because of the reforms in his government. A man boarded the bus last night to beg. He said his family is starving and he had no other means to feed them but to ask for alms. Whether it was just a sob story and the man was too lazy to find work, the truth is that people are getting poorer.
There was that armed woman who stormed the Malacañang Palace demanding Aquino to step down because she said Filipinos were getting poorer under his administration. Just imagine a citizen’s hardship, stuck with a low salary or unable to find a job, maybe even living on the streets, unable to afford expensive food, expensive education, expensive health care, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and defective mass transportation, the list goes on. Who would not go mad?