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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…

The Marcos Years - History of the EDSA Revolution from the perspective of Roberto V. Ongpin

I found this interesting article from the Inquirer regarding the Marcos years leading to the EDSA revolution from the perspective of Roberto V. Ongpin who was Marcos' Minister of Trade and Industry.

It's an interesting look at Philippine political history. Here's an excerpt.

When the phone rang one day in May 1979, he was not to know that he would be caught in one of the most tumultuous chapters in Philippine history.

“Do you know what time it is in London?” Roberto V. Ongpin said, the drowsiness evident in his voice. “It is 4 a.m.”

“Bobby, the President wants to talk to you,” said the voice at the other end, half a world away in Malacañang. It was Ruben Ancheta, an aide to President Ferdinand Marcos.

“Pare, please, give me two hours,” Ongpin said.

“All right. I will tell him,” Ancheta said.

Ongpin told the story of how he was conscripted by Marcos in an interview with the Inquirer at his penthouse office in the Alphaland Southgate Tower, a shopping mall and office complex which he owns, overlooking the western part of the capital and the spectacular Manila Bay farther on.

“You know, when the President calls [and] you are sleeping, you can no longer sleep,” said the 76-year-old business tycoon as he sat sipping his scotch and picking at a sandwich. He wore a cotton barong, his silver hair closely cropped.

After a while, the phone rang again. Ancheta put on the President.

“Sorry, I woke you up.”

“That’s okay, Mr. President.”

“When are you coming back?”

“Two weeks.”

“Can you come back in three days?”

Apparently, the President was planning to shake up his Cabinet, five years after he declared martial law, said Ongpin, at the time the chair and managing partner of SGV, the highly regarded Philippine auditing firm whose clients included some of the country’s—and the world’s—largest corporations.

“Mr. President, why am I being called?”

“Basta. Come back and we will talk.”

“At the time, it was very difficult to say no to him, you know,” Ongpin said with a laugh.

He returned forthwith to Manila and went to the Palace. The guard at the gate gave him a hard time and he had to wait. Finally at 2 p.m., he was let in. Marcos was in tip-top shape, looking very athletic. He had just come from the pelota court.

According to Ongpin, the Marcos he met that day was so far removed from the ailing man of three years later who was stricken with renal problems—a subject of much speculation in the nation where media facilities were controlled—and had to undergo two kidney transplants.

The first donor, Ongpin said, was Marcos’ namesake son who is now a senator. A rejection soon set in. He had another transplant several years later. The donor this time was a soldier in the presidential security group who was from his Batac hometown in Ilocos Norte. The organ kept him alive until he died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 at the age of 72.

Forceful guy

“I heard you are a forceful guy,” Marcos said to Ongpin.

“I don’t know if ‘forceful’ is the right word, Mr. President, but I do speak my mind. I don’t think I am the right man for your Cabinet. I think I will bring embarrassment to your Cabinet.”


“Mr. President, I have a very complicated personal private life. I don’t think you want me in your Cabinet.”

And then he told Marcos why.

At this point in the INQUIRER interview, Ongpin, who is married to a Filipina and has two children by her, asked that the tape recorder be switched off.

German beauty

But he could not resist showing a copy of a glossy magazine with his daughter on the cover. Her mother is German. She is a lovely woman worthy of a Miss Universe crown. She runs Ongpin’s world-class resort on the 400-hectare Balesin island that he owns on Lamon Bay in Quezon. He also has a son, whose mother is Australian. But Ongpin obviously was very proud of the German daughter. This gem of beauty and brains is evidently a source of joy for the man with an eye for beautiful women and an uncanny knack for making money.

The Forbes list of the top 40 wealthiest Filipinos ranked Ongpin 21st in 2010, with a net worth of $300 million. In 2011, he jumped to the ninth slot with a net worth of $1 billion, comprising holdings in several dozen companies ranging from gaming, communications, petroleum and mining.

“I want you to know that those things do not bother me,” Marcos told Ongpin.

“He wanted to know more about me, what I did, where I went to school,” recounted Ongpin, a certified public accountant educated at the Ateneo who also has an MBA from Harvard.

What was supposed to be a half-hour meeting lasted three hours.

“I would have thought that he would have done research on me, but he did not, or else he kind of just enjoyed talking to me. From the start, we hit it off, as if we were on the same wavelength. He knew that I speak my mind and I told him I might not stay long with him because I am a hothead, that he might get upset with me,” recalled Ongpin.

“No, no,” Marcos said. “I like that. I want people to speak up, because nobody has been speaking to me as they should.”

Luncheons with Marcos

He told the President: “If that’s the way you want it, we can have a deal. The minute that I feel I am not of help to you, you would let me go and the minute that you feel I am not of help to you, whatever, sorry na lang, you let me go, if possible gracefully, not fire me,” Ongpin recounted, laughing.

“Fair enough,” Marcos said.

And so he joined Malacañang, which Marcos’ daughter Imee once described as a “snake pit.”

Ongpin had a lot of meetings, almost every day, with Marcos before he was finally sworn in as minister of trade and industry in the Cabinet revamp announced during the President’s State of the Nation Address in July 1979.

Discussions even went on in the golf course. Ongpin said he was a fairly good golfer then, like the President, although he said Marcos had a “strange swing,” motioning with an imaginary club circling over his head like a helicopter blade before bringing it down to strike a ball.

He hated having lunch with the President, who always had a spartan diet of pinakbet—the Ilocano vegetable stew, mainly eggplant without pork—and plain rice. Starved, Ongpin would order hamburger. “I was always hungry.”

Read the rest of part 1

Here is part 2 of the series


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