In suspended animation

MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa - The Philippine Star

Wow! How time really flies. And you get to realize this more when you regularly type dates, like in my case twice a week, writing two weekly columns for the Philippine Star. Like right now I just typed January 9, the date this column is coming out and in two days time I would be writing January 12 for my Business & Leisure column that comes out here every Saturday. And then like every year, I would suddenly realize that I’m already typing dates in December, the end of the year, which seemed to have started just a few months ago.

My point in coming out with such a trivial observation is not as trivial, as I get to realize that as time flies so fast and as most things seem to change in such dazzling pace, some seem to be in suspended animation—like our country’s motoring concerns.

I got to be deeply immersed with issues about transport, traffic management, etc., when we started with the TV show Motoring Today more than 25 years ago and I started writing columns a few years after. Together with my late friend and show co-host, the country’s racing legend Pocholo Ramirez, we had envisioned the show to tackle all the aspects of motoring like motor sports, the motoring industry, vehicle maintenance, driving safety, etc., aside from transportation and traffic management concerns. Of course automotive technology have developed in leaps and bounds within the said period and so did motor sports with records of sorts having been established and surpassed several times over. But what seemed to have been left untouched by time is the way we manage our vehicular traffic in the metropolis.

I realized this more when we were making preparations to mark our TV show’s quarter of a century’s existence on Philippine television last year. While going through all the tapes of our show’s past episodes to produce an audio visual presentation representing Motoring Today’s two decades and a half existence as the country’s “Sunday viewing habit”—the longest-running motoring program or probably the longest-running TV show to date, I saw some past on-cam interviews with the different Metro Manila traffic managers and the issues were all the same as a new government came in and an old administration went out—the problems and their solutions were almost all the same, with the outcome the same too—just as what it was when the problem was presented for a solution. Almost everything recycled.

However, after all these years, there was a common denominator —everybody just kept on trying. Nobody gave up. That’s “A” for effort.

But then, as a solution seemed to have been found for a particular motoring problem, time and the fast development and progress it brings would have caught up with it and the problem just seems not to go away. Take the ever-increasing number of vehicles every year that is trying to squeeze in to an obsolete road network that takes so hard to catch up with the increase. And other factors like lack of funds for a much-needed overhaul of traffic engineering infrastructure or the popular wanton disregard for traffic signs, which to begin with do not conform to international standards. Of course even if we did have correct signs, they would be no match to the number of undisciplined drivers who either do not mind them at all or are clueless as to what they mean.  

Yes, the situation seems hopeless for us motorists. But then giving up at this point should not be an option. If we do, then there’s really no other path but into despair. What we can do is to have some sort of trust for the people who manage us. I know they are trying; perhaps for many, not hard enough, but the fact is they are trying. Let’s support our government in keeping on trying to solve our traffic woes. Let’s not give up.

As the year starts, let’s change the mindset that whatever is being done now is for naught. That’s defeat even before a fight. Let’s give it our best shot as we welcome the New Year.

Let’s support these guys—the police, the MMDA, the DPWH and everybody who’s trying their best to give us a better world to live in—a better life of motoring in 2013.

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments email [email protected].


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