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3 Cost Effective Ways to Solve Metro Manila's Traffic Problem

The Facebook page of ANC 24/7 is asking for its reader's suggestion on how to solve Metro Manila's traffic problem.

This got me thinking, "what is the best way to solve Metro Manila's traffic problem?" It's easy to make suggestions, what's hard is the implementation and the cost of implementation. So what is the the best way to solve Metro Manila's traffic problem and the most cost effective solution?

Punitive Fines
First of all, any implementation will definitely cost money, a lot of money. The cause of the traffic mess is the people themselves so it's only right that those causing the traffic problem should be fined and the fine should hurt. That way, the fines will pay for the cost of enforcing the law.
The fines should start at P500 and goes up every week if you don't pay it within 15 days. To enforce this and prevent people from ignoring the fine. It will be tied to their driver's license or car registration. They cannot renew their d…

How To Mend A Broken Relationship

I am deeply saddened by what happened on Monday with the hostage crisis. It was a tragic event that did not have to happen. It could have been easily prevented had the people in charged been more careful and did their homework.

The Philippines now has a black eye caused by the incident and the international community has pretty much condemned the country for its tragic mistake. It's not just one, but several tragic mistakes.

The first one being President Noynoy Aquino being incommunicado during all of this. Hong Kong Administrator Donald Tsang tried to contact President Noynoy Aquino but was unable to reach him. Hong Kong residents and officials are mad because of Manila's failure to update them of the situation as it was happening.

Where was the President during all of this? According to reports, he was in the Palace administering the oath of office to the sister of one of his most powerful backers, the sister of Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN. He only did a pre-dawn press briefing a day after the whole crisis began.

One may think a situation like this doesn't merit the time of the President, but when foreigners are involved, you better be damn sure that someone high up is in direct line with the foreign country's officials to keep them appraised of the situation.

I do not expect President Noynoy Aquino to be personally involved in the situation, but the least he could have done is set up a press conference or talk to the Hong Kong officials that he has assigned his top man for the job.

The second problem is the lack of control by the police to bystanders and to media. In most hostage crisis situations around the world, the media are usually kept far away to as not to telegraph the moves of the police to the hostage taker. If the police did their homework, they should have known that the bus has a radio or a TV in it. It's common knowledge that most buses in the Philippines are now equipped with TV sets. Of course the hostage taker can see what was happening around him.

The police should have cordoned off a wide path and put up tarps to block the views to the bus. You can see from all the videos on the Internet that the photos and video taken during the rescue attempt were close enough to be seen in details by the hostage taker.

You cannot have the media around you all the time. How can you think properly if you are surrounded by reporters asking you questions all the time and letting them hear your plans? You can't keep blaming the media that they should police themselves and not air your plans. Of course they will air the plans! All they are after is getting the scoop and the ratings, they don't care about impropriety. The Philippine media is notorious of that.

Those in command should be in a secluded spot where no one can hear them and do the press briefing after the incident is over. If the media won't control themselves, then the police should exert their authority and control them. They don't have to resort to police brutality, just put up tarps or a news blackout. Have one person be a spokesperson to keep the media informed as needed. Not a play by play.

Third, the lack of training and equipment clearly shows in the video of the rescue. I'm not going to do a point by point error by the police as this has already been pointed out by the BBC.

The fourth mistake was not even having the proper rescue personnel to take care of the remaining hostages. You can see some civilians actually helping pull out the survivors and reporters and other civilians crowding around the bus after Rolando Mendoza was killed.

Where's the crowd control? Where's the medic? No wonder Hong Kong officials immediately chartered planes from Cathay Pacific to get the victims back home right away. They didn't want them to suffer any more than necessary.

We could have stopped with these four mistakes and gotten back to mending our image in the international community. But no, I found out later that more WTF moments happened after it was over.

Case in point.
Now don't tell me I'm making thing worst by showing these. I only found out about this on the Internet. After an incident like this, proper protocol is to cover it up for investigation and not allow anyone near it let alone take pictures of the bus.

I can forgive the students, but the police officers? These photos are all over the Internet with Chinese people getting angry commenting on these photos. I don't read Chinese, so how do I know they're angry? When you see a lot of exclamation points in their comments, I bet you they're not saying something nice.

We have to start fixing the situation and re-establish our broken relationship with Hong Kong and China. How we deal with this in the next few months is going to affect the lives of a lot of overseas Filipinos.

It's too bad that an incident like this has suddenly put a black eye in the progress we've been seeing in the last few months since President Aquino took over. The stock market is going up, investors are optimistic, the people are enthusiastic and then bam! One bungled event, shown around the world might suddenly stop everything that the country is trying to rebuild. And this all started with a lack of leadership from the President. A first test of his leadership which in my opinion he failed miserably.

So how do we mend our broken relationship? First, the Philippines has to make a formal and sincere apology to Hong Kong. Cooperate with them and do a thorough investigation and don't do any cover up. If it happens that some of the victims were shot by the police and not Rolando Mendoza, admit it and make amends. Don't make it worst by covering it up, because the truth will come out sooner or later.

Establish new protocols for handling situations like these. These things happens all the time in the Philippines, but proper protocols have never been established or enforced.

President Aquino must show more leadership, he cannot be unavailable in crisis situations like these. He must be front and center. He may not want to be in the media all the time, but as President, certain situations require you to be front and center.

Lastly, please appoint someone as spokesperson for the police. We cannot have an official saying something like this:

"Philippine police defended their action but promised to review all events leading to the deaths. “Of course what happened was far from ideal. Nevertheless, we are congratulating our personnel because despite the lack of equipment ... they risked life and limb,” he stressed."

What's there to congratulate? The mission failed. If you are going to congratulate them, don't do it in public. I understand where the police official is coming from and I admire the courage of the officers who stormed the bus despite their lack of equipments. But it just doesn't sound right and it sounds more like arrogance on the part of the police. A little humility goes a long way.

Also teach proper etiquette to all policemen. Please please please don't make a tragic event into a photo opportunity. It shows a lack of respect for the victims. But as I said before, this probably comes more from the Filipinos getting numb from crimes like this more than their lack of etiquette.

I'm sure they are not trying to be disrespectful, it's more like they've gotten so used to these events which happens pretty much every day that they just start seeing it as an attraction instead of a tragedy. It's also the Filipino's nature to still smile even if a tragic event happens. How else can you explain people smiling even though their homes have been burned down or the flood victims of Typhoon Ondoy still smiling even after they lost everything? We as Filipinos understand our nature, but the international community certainly doesn't. They see it as disrespect to their fellowmen.

Only time will heal this wound and I hope the Philippines will learn from this mistake and rebuild our standing in the international community.


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