The long-term solution to Metro Manila’s traffic is to develop the countryside. People only flock to the city because the jobs and economic opportunities are perceived to be better here.
Meanwhile, the Christmas season and the ensuing heavy traffic will make a mockery out of Bayani Fernando’s u-turn slots and footbridges. Even secondary roads have become congested nowadays.
It will take years before the mass transport system can be improved. The government must reconsider an earlier proposal to ask private subdivisions to open their gates to traffic. These are hard times and everyone is asked to contribute in solving the country’s woes.
The poor has always been coerced, bribed and even attacked to give up their rights in order to make way for road widening or construction of an overpass. Working class communities can even be demolished to make access roads to a new business center or mall.
It seems government engineers have consciously spared residents of gated communities from the trauma of being uprooted from their homes. Instead, they have chosen to disturb the little people who can be persuaded by money or guns and would not think of filing charges in courts.
Thus, residents of Guadalupe, Makati City, especially along Kalayaan Avenue, were forced to adapt to the phenomenal increase of vehicular traffic in their area because bigger roads were constructed as a shortcut to C-5, Pateros and an alternative road to Edsa.
Some houses were demolished to pave way for a road leading to Fort Bonifacio Global City. Adding insult to the injury is a concrete fence beside the road so that passengers of luxury sedans could not see the squalor where the residents live.
Meanwhile, residents of the nearby Forbes Park can sleep peacefully in their homes as they are assured the government would not dare allow their community to be used as an entry point to C-5, Pateros or Fort Bonifacio.
The public is willing to help in easing the traffic. But the government’s solution must also be socially just. If the government can bulldoze its way into the heart of urban poor communities dismantling basketball courts, clearing sidewalk of vendors and demolishing houses, why can’t it ask the old elite and the nouveau riche from the private subdivisions to sacrifice a little of their divine right to privacy to help solve, at least for the time being, the metro traffic?
Residents of barangays Pitogo and Pinagkaisahan are as law-abiding, if not more honest taxpayers as their neighbors in Forbes Park yet their children will have to grow up dodging cars and vans as their once quiet neighborhood is suddenly transformed into a noisy beehive of gas-fuming vehicles trying to escape the hellish traffic in Edsa.
Walls that separate rich and poor reflect the inequality in our society. Walls symbolize pomposity, rigid attitude and fear of outsiders; in our case, fear of the dirty dumb poor.
Fifteen years ago, the Berlin wall which symbolized a divided people during the Cold War was dismantled by the Germans ushering a new era in world history. Residents of Forbes, Dasmarinas and other posh communities must open their gates to the public lest they want the throngs of hungry barbarians at the gates to smash the mighty wall which immunized the rich from the poverty virus.
The moment the walls are dismantled, we can hope for some change. Then we can talk of democracy.