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P.NOY: No to wasting his time stuck in traffic!

It seems all the pundits have said their piece on the issue of sirens or "Wang Wang" that was part and parcel of the inaugural speech of Pres. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. Many of them apparently favor this move, but wasn't comfortable with the situation where our President gets stuck in traffic like everyone else. But I don't blame Pres. Noynoy for insisting that his motorcade obey traffic rules; after all, no one should be exempted from it. More so those people who use or should I say misuse their sirens so they can escape from getting stuck in traffic.

But it is time to call a spade a spade. While we accept the reality that Pres. Noynoy wants to show to the nation and our people that he shall be a leader by example (which unfortunately isn't being followed by many of our political leaders who still use their sirens) however, under the current Constitution, the President only has one single 6-year term. We cannot and should not allow him to waste his time getting stuck in traffic! Who was it who said that a man who is 50 years of age is in reality only 25 years old because he spends half of that time sleeping.

Anyway, when I was CITOM Chairman, we visited the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to compare our traffic practices with theirs and also to see their traffic signal systems. What we learned was that, they had a more sophisticated system than our Sydney Coordinated Automatic Traffic System (SCATS). They had video cameras in almost all major intersections in Metro Manila. Their control room was huge with so many tv screens showing these intersections.

I suggest that the Presidential Security Group (PSG) assign personnel to be in the MMDA control room, where he can use a two-way radio to get instructions from the Presidential motorcade and give the President a go-signal whenever he is near an intersection. That way, Pres. Aquino can still maintain his public image of being a leader by example by not having sirens blaring away yet he can still move out of a bad traffic situation.

In truth, when the SCATS system in Cebu City was working very well, the late former CITOM Chairman Rogelio "Jing-Jing" Osmeña used to do this. He told me about it, but I didn't follow him when I took over the chairmanship of CITOM from him. But this can be done. The PSG should do this. A Presidential motorcade stuck in traffic makes a juicy target not to mention that there could be collateral damage in case of any attack on the President. Lastly, there should be a directive that would allow the impoundment of erring vehicles that do not remove their illegal sirens. Best of all, it is for the PNP to stop the sale of these devices.

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Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) was blamed by the media for the killings of media personnel by the group by the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) because in her 9-year term, so many media personalities (more than a hundred as of last count) were murdered. The most horrifying incident is the famous Maguindanao Massacre. Nowhere in the world were media people killed via wholesale slaughter!

Well, just four days into his new term as President, Pres. Noynoy Aquino was greeted by the first mediaman to be killed under his watch. Mr. Jose Daguio, a radio commentator and columnist of Radyo Natin from Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya was gunned down with a 12-gauge shotgun at close range in his home by a lone assassin. While media is still giving Pres. Noynoy a hundred day honeymoon, it seems that certain NUJP members are already blaming the President for this killing. This should be quite interesting for us working media whether under the Aquino administration, he would be able to stop the killings of media personalities.

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The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the legality of a ban on the conversion of agricultural lands for commercial purposes, junking the petition filed by the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA) who questioned the legally of memorandum No.88 issued by former Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, which was approved by then President Arroyo. Many people are very interested in this issue, especially because this was used by the political rivals of then Presidential candidate, now Pres. Noynoy Aquino whom they say would convert the Hacienda Luisita from agricultural land into a commercial and industrial complex. Since this SC decision was upheld under Chief Justice Renato Corona, pundits are asking whether Pres. Aquino would go against this SC ruling.

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