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3-digit scheme must also cover public officials

  • Written by Itchie Cabayan
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 151

There is an uproar from groups of motorists over the highly oppressive, pro-rich proposal of House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez for the implementation of a ‘three-digit number coding scheme’ for the entire holiday season, supposedly meant to help ease traffic congestion.

The proposal seeks for the enforcement of a three-digit ban during the weekdays while the current two-digit system is to resume implementation during the weekend. The  details are left  for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) to thresh out.   If Suarez is to have his way, he wants such system to be in effect all the way up to the Three Kings’ Day which falls on January 6.
   
The current unrest among motorists is justified. Their silence all these years amid one scheme after another is being abused. Imagine an ordinary employee or a small-time businessman using his lifetime’s savings just to be able to buy a car which, these days, is no longer a luxury but a necessity, definitely. It takes a lot of sweat and tears for an ordinary individual to raise that kind of money, all for the sake of ensuring one’s safety and convenience.  
   
And then, in the wink of an eye, here comes the government coming up with all kinds of schemes that would restrict him from enjoying the full utilization of his one and only car.
   
The suggestion of Suarez is okay if we do not see buses, taxis, jeeps, tricycles and pedi-cabs turning some streets into illegal terminals right under the very noses of traffic enforcers and if commuting is totally safe and fast. Walking in the streets alone opens one to the hazards of riding-in-tandem snatchers and holduppers, especially if you are a woman. Moreso, when you ride a cab, bus or a jeep. Even private car rentals are not totally safe and opting for the MRT or LRT, meanwhile, is for those who have so much time to spare considering the long queues one has to deal with. 
   
It is easy for these lawmakers to make such a proposal and for those in government to implement such schemes, simply because they are not covered by any of those. Not even their families, of course.  
   
Bet your bottom dollar. Our lawmakers and government officials are exempt from such restrictive schemes and even if they are not, surely, they have several cars and would never know how it feels being deprived of the right to use your car and being forced commute instead. 
   
Take the case of some middle-class families who own a single car.  Typically, the head of the family would take the kids to school, bring the wife to her workplace and then himself.
   
At the end of the office hours, the head of family would pick up the wife and then the kids and then go home altogether. Imagine the inconvenience it would case them if they will not  be allowed to use their cars three times a week? These lawmakers and government officials do not and would never know and I doubt if very much that they would even bother to care, since they have various cars to serve each of their family members, complete with their host of nannies and personal drivers.
   
Congressmen and government officials are there supposedly to serve the interest of the public.  They also draw their salaries from taxes paid by the public so it is just proper for them to first try putting their feet in the shoes of those who will be adversely affected by their moves. If they are to come up with schemes that would prejudice the interests of the motorists which comprise a bulk of the population, they should at least lead by example.                       
   
Unless we see Congressman Suarez for instance, Transportation Sec. Tugade and MMDA Chair Orbos commuting to and from work and other functions three times a week, it is hard to believe that the proposal is good for ordinary motorists.  
   
First, it was the odd-even scheme. Then came the number coding scheme. Then, the window hours and extended window hours. Now, they are pushing for the three-digit scheme. What’s next? How about banning from the streets those aged 30 and below during weekdays and then 31 and older during weekends? Or banning women on MWF and men on TTHS?
   
I have a better idea. How about banning corrupt public officials and their families from the roads five days a week? This would surely decongest traffic to the point that we could just hold parties in the streets. Watchatink?
          
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