Because We Are
ARE WE THERE YET? - Back Seat Driver (The Freeman) - February 2, 2014 - 12:00am

Earlier this week, I left my vehicle at the shop to begin a series of repairs caused by the numerous speed control devices I mentioned in last week’s article.  To get around the city, I decided to ride the white demons that infest our roads like cross-eyed termites, zig-zagging here and there like no one cares.  Surprisingly, I was in the hands of a lesser demon who actually knew some of the really important regulations. 

Since the trip from the shop to the office took around an hour, due to the amazing traffic management skills of the island and kapitolyo city traffic enforcers, we talked a little about the numerous traffic laws misunderstood and misinterpreted by most motorists and enforcers.

The first item we talked about was the double yellow line.  He and I agreed that, a double yellow line prohibit passing another vehicle by crossing the lines.  According to him, because we are a third world country, we can only afford wash-away road paint while other countries would have had concrete barriers to really prevent vehicles from crossing.  I told him that concrete barriers are reserved for higher speed, multiple lane roads and not often used on single or double lane city roads.  According to him, either way, it would be great if we had them on city streets so motorists won’t drive recklessly.  So says the guy who crossed a double yellow line four times during our trip.

Another item we talked about was the two versus four invisible law that law enforcers seem to believe exists.  This two versus four law, according to him, is what law enforcers envoke on them everytime they get into a traffic collision with a motorcycle.  Regardless of who caused the collision, the blame always falls on the four wheel vehicle because he is up against a two-wheeled vehicle that requires balance to run.  Actually, it requires common sense, self-preservation and a healthy respect for traffic laws to drive any motor vehicle.  In the slow, inept mind of the traffic enforcer, a scooter or moped running recklessly against the flow of traffic, colliding with a four-wheeled vehicle is the offended party.  If you ask them why, their automatic reply is “two wheels man, sir.”  If caught in that situation, I would ask, “is that the number of gears left running in your brain?”  There are rumors that such regulations exist.  I told the driver that the next time he gets into such situation, challenge the enforcer by asking him to cite the specific regulation that states that a motor vehicle running counter to the flow of traffic is faultless when involved in a traffic collision.  But because we are stuck with the most inept of traffic enforcers, most of our motorist brethren are being wrongly accused of infractions they really had no fault over.

The last item we talked about as we were getting closer to my workplace were the numerous people who dangerously cross multi-lane roads despite the presence of government-built elevated walkways in the area.  I told him that it is ironic that most of these walkways are located near educational institutions yet nobody is educated enough to use them.  We both agreed that students of a water-based university, whose logo is eerily familiar to an institution in Japan, are notorious for this.  I told him, maybe it’s because these kids grew up playing “tubig-tubig” and somehow the game stuck and they continue to play the game against motor vehicles.

Whatever the case is, according to him, it’s because we are aware that we can always get away with it that we develop these bad habits.  “I don’t do it and discourage my children from doing that because it is wrong,” he said.

At the exact moment he said that, he stopped right in front of our building, under a “No Stopping Anytime” sign and told me, “It’s ok, there are no traffic enforcers here anyway.”  White demon indeed.


UP accepting nominations for Gawad Plaridel 2014

CEBU, Philippines - The UP College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) is now accepting nominations for the tenth recipient of the UP Gawad Plaridel, the University of the Philippines’ highest award for an outstanding media practitioner.

The UP Gawad Plaridel bestows honor on Filipino media practitioners who have excelled in any of  the media and have performed with the highest level of professional integrity in the interest of public service.  The award is named after Marcelo H. del Pilar (nom de plume, Plaridel), the selfless propagandist whose stewardship of the reformist newspaper La Solidaridad helped crystalize nationalist sentiments and ignite libertarian ideas in the 1890s. 

Like Plaridel, the recipient of the award must believe in the vision of a Philippine society that is egalitarian, participative and progressive; and in media that are socially responsible, critical and vigilant, liberative and transformative, and free and independent.

For 2014, the UP Gawad Plaridel will be given to an outstanding TRANSMEDIA practitioner (one who excels in at least two media platforms).  This year’s recipient will join the roster of awardees — Ms. Eugenia Duran-Apostol (2004, Print); Ms. Vilma Santos (2005, Film); Ms. Fidela “Tiya Dely” Magpayo (2006, Radio); Ms. Cecilia “Cheche” L. Lazaro (2007, Television); Mr. Pachico A. Seares (2008, Community Print Media); Mr. Kidlat Tahimik (2009, Independent Film); Ms. Eloisa “Lola Sela” Cruz-Canlas (2011, Radio); Ms. Florence “Rosa Rosal” Gayda (2012, Television); and Mr. Jose “Pete” Lacaba, Jr. (2013, Print).

Award guidelines and nomination form may be downloaded from the UP CMC website (

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