Let the voters decide
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - December 22, 2015 - 9:00am

Voting time is coming. Though it seems like it’s still far away, it’s actually quite closer than we think. And with that in mind, the Supreme Court should be commended for the speedy resolution to several issues that arose from the elections. The High Court justices cancelled their annual leave in Baguio City to concentrate on and resolve vital election matters like who is eligible for president, vice president, Congress, and local office. And this was absolutely necessary to do now to ensure a smooth election next year.

It’s important that they set the precedent now and get everything into place to give voters the fair amount of time needed to go through all the information and truly select leaders which we think are best equipped to lead the country and make the best decisions for our future. As I’ve mentioned in columns in the past, this particular election feels more important than ever as the country is at a tipping point. We can either improve and move upwards or collapse and come spiraling down.

I think the SC has set a fine example of speedily resolving crucial electoral roadblocks that threatened to upset the planning for the elections in 2016. It is important that there be no excuse or no reason for us to not be adequately prepared for what lay ahead and I think that the SC has set an important precedent. We have, after all, not really been known for expediting and being efficient. This is perhaps one of the biggest problems in our government. Most things take forever to get resolved, sometimes up to the point that people just forget and move on with no resolution.

At least in this case, it looks as though we are getting all our ducks in a row with enough time to ensure a smooth election process. Whether or not we agree with the decisions that the SC made, we should be grateful for the speedy process with which they made them. At least now, we can be assured that everything is in place and we will be more than ready for May 2016.

So, with everything set, ballots will be printed in January and we can all get down to the business at hand. Has any one candidate fully distanced himself or herself from any other? It doesn’t look like it yet which means that it’s still any one’s election to win. 2016 is going to be a very interesting year indeed. I certainly hope the candidates start it off by sharing their clear and implementable platforms. This should not be a popularity contest after all, and whoever wins should be the candidate who can do the most good for our country.

* * *

With the holidays drawing ever nearer, traffic just gets more and more intense with people complaining about being stuck on the road for hours on end. I feel that this is an issue that has to be adequately addressed in the near future or we will just continue to lose both patience and productivity by being forced to be on the road for hours on end. It’s been called “carmageddon” and I can’t argue with that as many of our main roads are turned into veritable parking lots with everyone just trying to make it home.

My good friend and distinguished member of our Tuesday Club group at Edsa Shangri-la Hotel, Eddie Yap, is supporting a viable solution for our traffic nightmares in the city and one I hope can be implemented. Eddie wears many hats. He is a great writer, a big James Bond fan, a classical music connoisseur, and the chairman of the Management Association of the Philippines traffic, transportation, and infrastructure committee. If memory serves, he is also the president of the Rotary Club of Makati and what we can call a traffic czar.

Through the Management Association of the Philippines, Yap is expressing support for the planned bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The system, when implemented, will connect Manila City Hall to the Quezon Memorial Circle with a special allotted 12.3 kilometer stretch lane for buses that meet specific BRT qualifications. Additionally the BRT system must be a green transportation system utilizing clean energy to help reduce the high air pollution levels in the city.

Yap said that efficient and affordable mass transit is the solution to transportation needs and traffic in the metro and I definitely agree. We need to invest in the future today to make sure it is a successful, productive, and hopefully less traffic one for us all.

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