By The Standard Editorial | The Standard | December 20, 2015
The remark was made in jest, the Palace is likely to say, now that the date is fast approaching.
We refer to the statement of President Benigno Aquino III from April 2013, while he was campaigning for the Liberal Party’s senatorial bets in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
On that day, in front of a large audience at Dasmariñas National High School, Mr. Aquino promised that the Light Rail Transit (Line 1) extension from Baclaran to Bacoor will be completed by the end of 2015.
The project was envisioned to serve 250,000 train passengers.
“If this does not happen, and there is Secretary Abaya who is in charge of this project, perhaps the two of us will allow ourselves to be run over by a train,” Mr. Aquino said, a bit too confident.
At that time, Aquino was desperate to court the votes of the electorate so that the candidates from his party could continue to occupy Senate seats and influence the legislative—sometimes political—agenda that he was pushing.
It’s December 20, with a mere 11 days to go before the end of the year. There is no train extension.
In fact, since then, the public rail system has deteriorated to a point that using it has become part of the daily ordeal of the ordinary student or worker.
It is not only the LRT. A bigger problem is the Metro Rail Transit 3, which runs along Edsa, the premier highway in the capital. The MRT-3 has encountered all sorts of problems in recent months—broken rails, old coaches, delays and frequent breakdowns. During a typhoon just this past week, one of the stations became submerged in water, eliminating the MRT as an option among exhausted, famished, and exasperated commuters.
In all these, the Aquino administration has managed to blame every mishap on the previous administration, denying the fact that five years has passed—plenty of time for it to correct whatever mistakes and excesses that may have been committed.
And so we are back to a hollow challenge, as hollow as the promises habitually made by a President we cannot take seriously anymore.
Funny how Mr. Aquino invoked the words of his late parents as they advised him to stay true to his word all the time. Then again, perhaps he was joking that time, too. What a pity that this country has been run over by a joker.