I was just telling my sister yesterday that one concrete change I can see that was brought about by the new administration of the government is the removal of the “wang wang” (the siren that goes off because some VIPs are passing through). Politicians and citizens are no longer allowed to use siren with the exception of ambulances and firetrucks. I also observed that unless it is official business like the President, the VP or an ambassador (we got the chance to see them pass by, they moved rapidly as in the movies), and there were no longer escorts frequenting the roads. But just this morning, a policeman riding a motorcycle suddenly swerved and halted us, then a private vehicle (Nissan Cefiro) passed through with two policemen escorts at the front and the back. When we arrived at the intersection while the traffic light still flashes green which means go, another police officer signaled us to stop. We obeyed as commanded because it’s a main thoroughfare and there are many other traffic enforcers in each corner. If you happen to disobey their rules, you’d get caught because you don’t have privilege to escape (unless you’ve got connections or some IDs, calling cards or photographs to show). Right then, one of the traffic enforcers stopped a truck for whatever traffic violation he did that we don’t understand. The police officer who was trafficking awhile ago walked towards his motor vehicle ready to flee the scene. It seems that his job is done. And yes, we can pass through now.
I’m used to these situations already, but just when I thought there was a little change happening, we were brought back to where we started. It’s just frustrating sometimes because it’s not only the politicians or VIPs who have somewhere to be or some important matters at hand, the ordinary citizens too have to be on time on their schedules. We have experienced four to five hours of traffic jam in just one city, and many times, it’s not because of having too many cars, but drivers disobeying traffic regulations and traffic enforcers reversing the traffic signals and signs. I know that what they do is hard work. They need to stand under the scorching sun for hours, inhaling the dust and smoke excreted from the vehicles, especially jeepneys and gigantic buses, and then people won’t listen to their directives, pedestrians passing everywhere, motorists zoom in to get to where they want to go even if the other end is already full, commuters riding the public utility vehicles anywhere they get the chance to. What is disappointing is the unfair practice of justice in catching traffic law violators. I saw a couple of times already about four to five traffic enforcers catching a single prey. You’d wonder how they decide who gets to eat the prey. It’s like many predators locking into a prey and ready to devour it. Sorry for the term/s.
A little discipline is the key to succeeding, if only everyone is willing to carry their share for the improvement of the whole. Driving in the country is really stressful and proves to be a big challenge. You have to put up with pedestrians suddenly coming out of nowhere, Jeepney and buses stopping whenever and wherever they want to, vehicles cutting without signal or flashing their headlights and honking because they are in a hurry or just can’t stand waiting, speeding container vans, even stray dogs and cats. I’ve seen a lot of cats that have been run over by vehicles at night when vicinity is low. Some cats have been flattened, some were bloody, and there were times when we readied ourselves for a gruesome picture but then it was just a sack lying on the highway. If you want more challenge, you could explore Chinatown, where pedicabs or tricycles counter flow a one-way street, pedestrians walk in the middle of the streets because the sidewalks are filled with vendors selling vegetables in kariton (cart) and other products, karitilya (trolley cart for delivering cartons), some exhibitions here and there of long poles and construction materials, and people don’t want to give way so the intersections are locked and no one could pass through. I think it would be a big help to our economy and the individual’s well-being (and sanity) to have a traffic-jam-free road and if the traffic problem could be solved even just a half percent of it, then I would say our president indeed contributed something big to our country.