We revisit an editorial
we wrote in 2004. Since its writing, traffic in the metropolis has not
improved and in many ways seems to have gotten much worse.
and balikbayans in Metro Manila are confronted with the dilemma of whether
to get behind the wheel and drive themselves around the metropolis or get
someone else to do it for them. For those
visiting from countries such as the US and Canada, driving in Manila can be
quite an unnerving experience. It quickly becomes apparent that motoring in
Manila operates on a significantly different paradigm.
Two elements combine to make driving a
decidedly tourist-unfriendly experience: first is the Filipino driver. Make
no mistake, Filipinos have excellent driving skills. They maneuver their
vehicles to within inches of one another without hesitation. Filipino
Driving habits are another thing altogether. They break almost every driving
rule in the book: they make sudden left turns from the far right lane; they
straddle lanes; they cut into freeway traffic; they stop wherever they feel
like; they jump red lights; they drive with their headlights off at night;
and they use their horns incessantly.
The second element are the roads in the
Metropolis. There is an appalling lack of roadway signage. Many street signs
are missing. Over the past decades numerous fly-overs and skyways were
built, but signage on them are for the most part dismal. Some highway
turnoffs have their their signs posted only on the turnoff themselves,
leaving the uninitiated driver little time to prepare for it. A far cry from
the driver-friendly freeways of the West. There is also a lack of
consistency in signage making some signs hard to read when cruising at
highway speeds. Add to this the lack of lane delineations on many roads and
highways. Even more egregious are lanes that suddenly disappear without
warning, forcing drivers to suddenly merge to adjacent lanes. The litany of
faults can go on and on.
But rather than simply complain about this
sad state of affairs, here's what we feel should be done:
- 1. Driving education should be a required
course in high schools all over the country. The reason Filipinos drive
the way they do is because no one taught them otherwise. With traffic
growing significantly worse in and around Metro Manila, proper driving
techniques will go a long way in alleviating some of the congestion and
traffic jams that plague the daily commute.
- 2. The National
government should step in and correct the many shortcomings found in the
country's roadways. It can start by demanding consistency in signage;
making sure highways have clearly delineated lanes; and making sure
warning signs or roadway markings are present to alert drivers of potential hazards ahead.
Making Philippine roads driver-friendly
will go a long way in making them Tourist and Balikbayan-friendly. If the
only way visitors can get around is to have someone drive for them, their
mobility becomes somewhat diminished. And let us not forget that their
overall experience in the country inevitably includes traveling from one place to another.
We'll have more to say
on this issue in the near future, so "stay tuned."
Link reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.
12 Million Metro Manila Commuters Stuck in Gridlock Hell
For much of the last month, my Facebook friends in Metro Manila have been posting comments lamenting their helplessness at being condemned to spend a great portion of what is left of their productive lives stuck in hours of traffic with no hope in sight. They now appreciate why Dan Brown described Manila in his book, Inferno, as “the gates of hell” specifically referring to its “six-hour traffic jams (and) suffocating pollution”.
Why Filipino-Americans Need to Vote Democratic on November 4
Since 1620 when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, people the world over
have migrated to America in search of a better life. Filipinos are no
exception. In the '70s and '80s Filipinos who were able to, left for the
U.S. to escape the tyranny of the Marcos regime; today they leave is to
escape the poverty and the lack of opportunity in their homeland.
Whatever the reason, Filipino migrants quickly shed their old habits and
attitudes and embraced American culture.
Both United States and Philippine Governments to Blame for Death of Jeffery "Jennifer" Laude
The United States and Philippine governments share the blame for the tragedy. Two young lives needlessly destroyed: the first, a young Filipino transgender found strangled inside a motel bathroom; the second a teenaged American serviceman now accused of murder.
Death of Filipino Transgender 'Jennifer' Laude Was Totally Preventable
The evening for the young US Marine and his Filipino date "Jennifer" began at the Ambyanz Disco Bar in Subic Bay, Olongapo and ended shortly before midnight at the Celzone Lodge where "Jennifer's" lifeless body was found leaning against the toilet bowl. Jennifer, it turns out was actually not originally a "she" but a "he." A Filipino transgender, Jeffrey Laude, 26, began calling himself "Jennifer" after medical procedures made him look more female than male.
Sorry Mr. President But PNP Chief Alan Purisima Has to Go
What’s with Philippine civil servants these days? It seems that you can stick all their pictures on a wall; throw a dart; and whoever’s photo it land on, that person can be successfully prosecuted for graft. It is unbelievable how pervasive and widespread corruption has become. We go from one corruption scandal to the next and there seems to be no end in sight.
Tear Down the Torre de Manila Building Being Built Behind the Rizal Monument?
According to the developer’s website, “Torre de Manila, DMCI Homes’ newest one-tower condominium, is an exclusive residential community right in the heart of the city.” As of this writing, the 49-story edifice is about halfway complete. But as it continues to rise, so too do the howls of protest from an eclectic collection of groups and individuals who want it torn down. Why? Torre de Manila will permanently mar the skyline behind the Rizal Monument.
How Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law Continues Hurting Filipinos to This Day
On the evening of September 23, 1972, two days after it had taken effect, Ferdinand Marcos announced via live television from Malacañang Palace that he had placed the Philippines under Martial Law. It was a calculated move by a devious politician to keep himself in power beyond what the Constitution allowed. A staged ambush attempt against his Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile was the main excuse Marcos (or “Macoy” as he was deridingly referred to back then) used to strip Filipinos of all their constitutional rights. With that, the diminutive Ilocano from the backwaters of Batac, Ilocos Norte became the despotic dictator for over a decade.
Jejomar Binay Should Never Become President of the Philippines
In our July 25th editorial we asked if Vice President Jejomar Binay should be the next president of the Philippines. In this editorial we arrive at the definitive conclusion that that Binay should not be elected president. Since our last editorial, more witnesses have come forward with more allegations against the embattled Vice President. But our decision not to support Binay’s presidential bid is based on irrefutable public acts that in our opinion disqualify him from the presidency.