By Babe Romualdez (BABE’S EYE VIEW) | The Philippine Star | Updated March 1, 2015
It happens to some of us – when something goes wrong, everything starts to fall apart and everything seems to go wrong. We call that Murphy’s Law. The sad part is – when the government seems to be fumbling all over the place, we all go down with it. Another glitch in the MRT’s braking system caused passengers to be thrown down like dominoes, with
several getting hurt as a result. Everyone was forced to get off on the next station, causing employees to arrive late for work and triggering a fresh round of curses for the administration, and as one critic put it, “for refusing to let go of inept people like Abaya just because they happen to be KKK (kapartido, kaibigan, kabarilan).”
Over 600,000 passengers take the MRT every day and they have no choice but to endure the long lines and risk life and limb due to the breakdowns that are getting more frequent, reminding us of the time when a train overshot the barrier at the Taft Avenue station. Since the coaches are old, the air conditioning systems are breaking down, and one can only imagine what it will be like for the passengers who are crammed inside the trains when the hot summer months come.
The MRT is a ticking time bomb waiting to blow up as the people’s anger continues to simmer. No amount of apology from the administration will ever be enough because people expect results, not the dilly-dallying and finger-pointing on who is responsible for the maintenance or the purchase of spare parts especially after the much-opposed fare hikes were implemented. The MRT is supposed to bring relief to ordinary commuters considering the worsening traffic situation, but as a businessman friend told me, he feels so bad when he looks outside the window of his car because of the long lines of people waiting for a ride, and knowing that some of them might be his employees.
To think that the Aquino administration started out on a high note with people’s hopes buoyed up by the promise of real change and expectations that life will be better. While the president got a lot of flak for the handling of the Luneta bus hostage incident in August 2010 — especially with perceptions that he let his friend Rico Puno “get away with murder” — the fallout was quickly averted especially with the strong performance of the economy. People also had such great hopes that corruption would be lessened (if not eradicated) with the “straight path” mantra of the administration.
Unfortunately, things seem to have taken a turn for the worse in the last two years, with the Aquino government put to the test as one disaster after another hit the country. The Yolanda super typhoon would have been a great opportunity to show that the leaders today can rise above “yellow” politics, but unfortunately, subsequent events strengthened perceptions that for some, “it’s all about the name.”
And while projections for the economy are still upbeat for this year, a potential damper according to analysts would be the after-effects of the port congestion that escalated last year, which caused a number of small brokerage companies to fold due to delays and increased costs, and the long power outages that are sure to happen which could turn away investors. In fact, several areas in Metro Manila have already experienced rotating brownouts – with the situation expected to get worse this summer.
Not surprisingly, people’s tempers are starting to boil due to suspicions that the power shortage was cooked up to justify the granting of emergency powers to the president, since there was a lot of time to avert a power crisis that was already foreseen as early as 2008 – yet the DOE was unable to come up with concrete solutions after all this time.
Last Wednesday, what should have been a “low key” commemoration of the historic 1986 People Power Revolution became a disaster with people cursing the president, the MMDA and the PNP because of the horrendous traffic snarl that stretched all the way from Quezon Boulevard to Magallanes due to the closure of portions of EDSA. Let’s face it, Metro Manila can no longer take unnecessary road closures on any day. There are just too many vehicles.
Only the president, his Cabinet and his friends were allowed inside the EDSA Shrine, with many who just wanted to hear the mass refused entry ostensibly for “security reasons.” More tellingly, former president Ramos skipped the celebration — a first in 29 years — blasting the traffic and criticizing the president for leaving out the most important part of the 1986 peaceful revolution: the people. “Only the yellow army is taking advantage,” the EDSA hero fumed.
FVR, “the old soldier who never fades away,” was expressing what majority of Filipinos feel at the inability of government to recognize the growing frustration of the people in the aftermath of the Mamasapano disaster.
In his Feb. 25 speech, the president said peace in Mindanao is everyone’s problem — precisely why he should not forget that the BBL is not exclusively for the MILF but all stakeholders. Passing it in haste without scrutinizing or correcting the unconstitutional provisions will only create more problems down the line. Calls for the president to step down by Uncle Peping and Auntie Tingting is not the answer — but Aquino should not ignore the growing dissatisfaction among the people. By continually pointing the finger at someone else about what really happened in Mamasapano, the administration is only digging itself deeper into a hole — which could turn out to be a quicksand — sinking it into oblivion.