Joseph’s tomb

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Just to start this article on a positive note, I’m sure that people of faith and skeptics alike all wonder every now and then about how true scriptures are. Are they just religious promises or is there really “proof of life” in what we read or hear?

For instance: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8: 28).

The Bible verse sort of stuck in my mind about a month ago and I saw evidence of the claim when someone I knew passed away from a medical condition. He and his wife were Christians and active in another church. He had no next of kin in the country and I assumed that his remains would be cremated, perhaps shipped back to his home country.

Unexpectedly, someone donated their paid slot for the chapel, funeral services and plot at Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig. If you inquire about the cost, you will realize that such an act of sacrificial charity costs a lot of zeros on someone’s bank account. But more than that, it reminded me of what Joseph of Arimathea did when he gave his unused tomb to Jesus Christ.

Clearly, it was God showing all of us that he had worked everything out for my friend and his wife.

*     *     *

I am suffering from Traffic Light Indigestion.

Has anybody noticed the absurd number of traffic lights all over Metro Manila? Have you noticed that in spite of the abundance of traffic lights, these are still manipulated or overridden by traffic enforcers?

Contrary to claims that the MMDA has modernized or computerized traffic management in Metro Manila, a lot of the activity is still done through two-way radios. Yes, there are cameras all over the metro but most of them are focused on major roads and not on side roads which have just the same volume of traffic.

As a result of this selective focus on main streets, what happens is MMDA is “blind” to the traffic build-up along side streets, barangays and commercial establishments. Last week, I saw a Pasig City enforcer exchanging words with a Barrio Kapitolyo enforcer on the side of Shaw Blvd.

The tanod was pissed because Shaw Blvd. was being given “extended” priority at the expense of traffic coming from BGC and messing up everything inside the barangay while on the other side, guards of Capitol Commons were also calling attention to the bottleneck inside the commercial complex.

This was not an isolated incident. In fact, I’ve had small talks with different enforcers from the different groups and they all have something to say about each other. Essentially everyone has a priority – MMDA prioritizes EDSA, city enforcers are pressured to move traffic in their jurisdiction and enforcers, security guards of barangays and malls all get hell when traffic comes to a standstill and disrupts business and schedules.

Clearly, the DPWH and the MMDA have never heard or are not interested in smart traffic management systems that automatically regulate and count the volume of traffic at site. Evidently, they also don’t want to study the possibility of one-way systems and actually limiting the number of choke points on a grid or on the road. If you have too many intersections and crossings, the more the likelihood that traffic will get blocked.

It’s bad enough that the MMDA and the DPWH have reduced the number of lanes along EDSA due to their U-turn slots and rerouting, but the overabundance of traffic lights has made things very inconvenient.

I’ve spoken to several Grab drivers and delivery riders and some of them confessed that they are reluctant to enter the Ortigas-Kapitolyo area because there are so many traffic lights and build up. They generally check out the volume first because the fare is not worth the time, opportunity and fuel lost standing in traffic for five to ten minutes, only for the passenger to drop the ride in search of another unit.

I am hoping that the national and local authorities will be reminded of the fact that the rainy season is upon us, and rain alone doubles everyone’s delay. What sort of preparation and coordination has the MMDA, Metro Manila Council, DILG and DPWH done to pre-empt Carmagedon?

Maybe it’s time for MMDA and the DPWH to bring in experts from other countries because from the looks of it, our local boys have reached their level of incompetence and need to call a friend.

*     *     *

While attending a breakfast meeting, a PR practitioner shared that PBBM has allegedly become very sensitive to any mention of “destabilization.” The gentleman claims that as a result, the President’s team is currently finalizing a list of individuals to be replaced among Cabinet members. Initially, it would be four Cabinet members even before the SONA.

I honestly did not ask who because the guessing game of political musical chairs does not interest me. I did, however, point out to Mr. PR that the very least the President could do is to set up an authentic system where people could air their grievances and complaints which, to my mind, was one of the effective devices that the Duterte administration set-up.

Having a hot line or a “grievance committee” that will gather all types of complaints gives the public a mechanism to release their discontent or desperation and shows them that they are being listened to.

Once the complaints are investigated and action taken, word soon gets out that there is integrity in the system and the President will most likely secure his standing better than “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.”

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E-mail: [email protected]

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