EDSA for all
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2019 - 12:00am

Starting today, the MMDA will impose their new rates or fines for traffic violations and you are guaranteed to get “ticket shock” when you pay because THEY’VE RAISED THEM BY 400 percent. The MMDA decided to radically increase the fines because their old rates were more affordable for some vehicle owners than to pay long term parking fees in condominiums or commercial parking establishments. Given that condominium parking slots cost anywhere from P1 million to P3 million (plus the usual monthly maintenance fees) on the average and getting one is close to slim or impossible unless you buy a condo unit, the alternative of paying the cheap fines actually made sense. One particular case that Task Force Commander Bong Nebrija cited was a motorist who had been ticketed four times in a row and didn’t mind paying the “cheap” fine.

On the bright side when we tackled the proposal of the MMDA to diet lane sizes on EDSA on our TV program, our AGENDA team presented a rendering of our idea where EDSA could be split into the following: one dedicated lane for motorcycles and bicycle riders which would have lane barriers to prevent riders and other vehicles particularly buses from entering or crossing into the motorcycle lane and vice versa. This will coral bikers inside the dedicated lane and protect them and others from collision. The bus lanes would likewise be segregated by lane dividers one for pedestrians to board buses from and on the opposite side a barrier that would restrict buses from going in and out of the bus lane which is the primary cause of traffic and anger from other motorists. After the dedicated motorcycle and bus lane near the curb, all remaining space would be split up for regular cars and vans where one lane can also be segregated for carpoolers and vehicles that intend to go point to point such as Pasay to Caloocan or Caloocan to Roxas Boulevard or NAIA. This will surely speed things up especially for point to point or pass through drivers and carpoolers.

If the MMDA can actually work out the idea with the DPWH, they will get to have more lanes, have their HOV or High Occupancy Vehicle lane, and most important of all, we will have a safer EDSA for All.

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Raul Del Rosario – vice president of Clark International Airport Corp., texted me last Monday to give additional inputs on the article I wrote about the diversion of a Cebu Pacific flight from Inc         heon, Korea to Clark International Airport:

“1. CIAC has one Korean interpreter but we post him on the graveyard shift because that is the peak time of Korean arrivals. He was off duty when the flight diversion happened and had already went home to Guagua.

2. We have CIQ (Customs/Immigration/Quarantine) personnel on duty then but were not requested. We did not receive any request from Cebu Pacific that they will disembark their passengers. For one, they expected their mechanic to arrive 7:30 via a Cebu Pacific flight but arrived 10:23 a.m. They already served breakfast on board the aircraft.

3. There is no holding area available in the CIAC Terminal then to hold 400 passengers plus five infants; the terminal was full during those times because of international departures.

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Many countries are very concerned about possible export of terrorism and have been quite vigilant to say the least. But what about the Philippines, are we being vigilant against threats not just from terrorists but other forms such as epidemics that could wipe out food sources, flora and fauna and the likes? It is a good thing that the Department of Agriculture has finally awaken to the threat of African Swine Fever which is the equivalent of Ebola for pigs and has a mortality rate of 100 percent once it hits any and all pig farms in an area. It is now wiping out farms and piggeries in China.

Given our current interaction with China, our almost open door policy for Chinese workers and our insufficient checks and controls at customs areas all over the country, God forbid that some ignoramus or penny pinching traveller decides to bring in contaminated pork or someone traveling through China actually brings the virus on their shoes, clothes or equipment. The African Swine Fever is a very serious threat but it is not the only threat. In 2017 we all learned that the Philippines is not immune to Bird Flu and once an area is hit, a quarantine is necessary and serious financial loss plus destruction of thousands of livestock which have to be burned.

All over the world nations are dealing with the destructive or disruptive impact of pets gone wild, plants or “foreign” trees destroying land, or drying up water resources. In the Philippines our greed for “imported” varieties from dogs to sili have also brought in diseases that we never used to hear, or in the case of “imported” sili, many Filipinos no longer know the difference between siling labuyo or Taiwan. People who try to find “native” fish, animals or plants can sometimes experience some difficulty because “native” is no longer popular and have become scarce, rare and potentially go extinct. Firing Quarantine officers at NAIA is just a palliative solution. The Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Customs, all airport authorities and Filipinos travellers and consumers should actively talk and educate all their friends and families to be proactive in the monitoring, reporting and regulation of imported products, animals, seeds and plant life just to make sure that what we bring in will result in good and not disaster on the ground. Epidemics like the African Swine Fever, Bird Flu and the likes will also kill jobs and businesses for thousands if not millions of Filipinos.

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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