Metro Manila’s EDSA: laboratory of Filipino dysfunction

The other day, I got pulled over for turning into a U-turn slot on Metro Manila’s Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) at a time when I shouldn’t have. Unlike Chris Lao, however, I was in no position to go around stomping my feet claiming that I was not informed. There were signs leading to the turn indicating in big letters “U-Turn Slot” and — in small letters — something about private vehicles being allowed to use it only after 5pm or something like that. I was out of luck that time. My watch indicated 4:43pm.

No wonder the stretch of the whole lane diverging from EDSA leading to the slot was empty.

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Apparently this facility was for the exclusive use of provincial buses at peak hours. Turns out the slot that may be legally used by private vehicles before 5pm can be accessed from the outer lane of EDSA. So I guess keeping to the leftmost lane on EDSA to look for a U-turn slot is not as straightforward or logical an approach as I thought it was.

So I got flagged by an officer of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and had to pull over to sort out the violation.

I guess, poor people aren’t the oppressed people of our inherently unjust society that many socially-aware “activists” make them out to be. Bus drivers seem to get the better end of the deal in EDSA. Earlier in my journey that day, I observed how public utility buses swarmed all over the ABC Theatre in Guadalupe forming a vehicular morass at least three lanes wide as each tried to scoop up as many passengers as they could before they zoomed off towards the next stop. Twenty-odd buses slowing to a crawl and occupying three lanes along a stretch of EDSA that hosts no less than three feeder lanes that inject vehicles coming from Ayala Centre, The Fort, and Pasic City into a highway already choked with vehicles coming from Metro Manila’s southern suburbs is a poignant sight for an infrequent user of EDSA. Needless to say, it is most likely an infuriating reality for the regular Manila motorist.

Then there is the north-bound Ortigas flyover that is also clogged by buses stopping at its approach to pick up passengers. That’s an expensive piece of infrastructure originally built precisely to spare motorists who just need to get to the other side of this busy intersection of having to deal with this sort of thing.

These and many other quaint instances of banal stupidity along EDSA are routinely taken for granted by Manila’s millions of road users. That such glaringly obvious causes of traffic grief that beg such simple solutions persist for years goes a long way towards explaining why I find laughable at best any sort of grandstanding about “hope” and “will to change” among not just Filipino politicians but ordinary Filipinos.

You just can’t take seriously a people who fail at stepping up to the simplest challenges.

If even the most obvious issues that beg the simplest solutions cannot be addressed, how exactly do we presume to harbour any “hope” that our more complex and more systemic problems will be rectified?

Closer to my personal experience rectifying my rather ironic traffic “violation”, I just had to take note of how that otherwise quiet approach lane to that U-turn slot was patrolled by only two MMDA officers. Yet, along Guadalupe and the Ortigas segments of EDSA, ten- to twenty-odd officers armed with clubs frantically wave buses into the proper lanes in vain.

The mathematics of how one sector of the motoring public that routinely violates traffic rules and causes untold stress and economic loss daily goes unpunished and another sector within which moi happened to be a part of that day gets slugged with a hefty fine for a violation that did not inconvenience even even one other motorist simply does not compute.

Why then can’t Filipinos follow rules?

Perhaps, it is because the rules in place simply do not serve their intended purpose — which is to make the Philippines work on a large and coherent scale.

Indeed, a country that does not work at scale not surprisingly breeds generations of individuals who make up their own rules and then proceed to live by these. It is a survival strategy that works in a country that does not work.

54 Replies to “Metro Manila’s EDSA: laboratory of Filipino dysfunction”

      1. He DOESN’T change the people. Those zombies still cling to their false messiah so you’re post STILL is EPIC FAIL.

        Kaya siya binoto due to his last name. Kasi gusto nila tamad tulad din nila. You want a Wowowee Presidency? You got one! 😛

    1. Okay, let’s start with the Constitution, which is full of loopholes and restrictions that prevents the growth and development of a Third World country. After that, we can make/change other laws that ensures that gridlock is a thing of the past.

        1. Wrong. We should change the constitution considering its framework instantly locked the lack of future and progress the country would have financially and socially.

          The constitution still haunts the country in the past, certainly the present and most definitely the future and so is the system of the government if we don’t change it for the better.

      1. This is for Vincent:

        The laws have loopholes. Even if you implement them well, many incompetent fools will bypass them like using the SCTEX instead if the MacArthur Highway. To cover the loopholes and ensure that everyone’s on the same road, reforms are needed. Especially in the constitution that was made by someone who had a bigtime Martial Law Hangover. Gets?

        1. Almost three years later and Mr. Aquino hasn’t done jack shit on Vincenzo’s “proposed” Skyway on edsa.

      1. Building a Skyway along EDSA is the most unfeasible plan I’ve ever heard. Why not decongest Metro Manila through necessary reforms?

    1. Its because walang nahuhuli. Tgnan mo si Tito Noy, babaguhin nya yan kasi lahat ng incompetent pinapatanggal nya

      1. I don’t believe so, Vincenzo. Are you here to extol the virtues of “Tito Noy”? If you are, then GRP is not the place to do it.

        @Hyden, maybe we can ask the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute or a similar organization based in the Philippines to reprogram our genes

      2. Dapat IKAW ang ma-educate because you NEVER state facts but all are just HEARSAY. Just state FACTS for once and not haka-haka and crap.

        Kaya ang gagawin mo lang ay magmura. You can’t win by simply swearing. 😀

      3. The YellowTard Vincenzo is hurt…he is really a YellowTard of the Yellow Horde Nazi KALIBAPI propaganda machine…Maybe, he is really Ricky Carandang. Extolling the virtues and non-existent good works of the imbecile President…this is the reason, he wants Honorary Doctorate Degrees? He is now a laughing stocks in universities in England…

    2. I guess I am not human. I seem to have a problem not not following rules. Kiddin.’ I get what you’re driving at.

      Masasabi ko lang — be the change.

      Who gives a flying f*ck if the next guy doesn’t follow rules? Just keep on doing it. if someone thinks you’re strange, explain it to them. One day, a nut that’s similar to us might follow suit. Soon enough, you’ll have a movement — a flock who follows the rules. Just pray those rules are right. lol

      We all have to start somewhere. We don’t have to wait for a savior to tell us to follow rules.

  1. Cha-cha is the 3 card trick/trojan horse

    Cha-cha – slip through age change/limit in line with US, under the smokescreen of open competition

    Elect pacquaio as vice-president. President would be a step to far even for filipino electorate

    Oops. The president has had a fatal accident.

    Bingo – those powerbrokers who are now in the cold and in danger are back in power with an idiot puppet at their command

    Show me the money

      1. mummy’s boy cant manage to tie his own shoelaces.
        now he is hiding under his desk waiting for
        the storms to pass and then when safe
        a photo op with yellow carrier bags.
        his father will be turning in his grave that his son is so weak and hypocritical.

        the palace is planning an evacuation. a visit to UK to collect an honary degree in fast food.

        he is a bigger disaster than all the storms put together and now the brainwashed yellow morons can only quote slogans which underlines his complete failure.

        1. Its very ironic that 2 years later, everyone on social media hates the president. Looks like vincenzo has ultimately been proven wrong.

      2. Now, if you people keep voting based on name recall, populatity, celebrity staus…etc, then you truly deserve what you have right now.

        People don’t have a choice even the most educated and brightest one. System must be change to change this voting culture. Let us not forget that only reason why Cory adopted presidential system is because it is par with the american. But our constitution is defectively a xerox copy of American Constitution.

      3. HA! It will never happen and it shall never happen. I’d rather have Bongbong Marcos as president for life than to see my fellow Filipinos suffer under the Cojuanco-Aquino empire. Especially under that annoying disease who masquerades as the “queen of all media”.

      4. Very ironic that almost three years later, most filipinos now hate the president and want him out. Not gonna be long now, Aquino’s fall is coming soon.

    1. Rules are rules. Why change it? Why wait for an MMDA enforcer to tell you that there are rules?

      Any self-respecting driver who can read (hopefully) visible signs should follow. End of discussion. Breaking the rules just gives the species of crocodilus corruptus a reason to be happy.

  2. aquino is not just a joke in england but in the civilised world. a cartoon character.
    he exemplifies why 3rd world countries cannot manage themselves and have to beg for aid.
    on your knees littlenoy and grovel
    maybe that is the only thing you can do for the country.

  3. Kapag naging presidEnte si b0ngb0ng,parang bnastos at pinawalang bisa nyo na ang ipinaglaban ng Pilipino na demokrasya. Wag kay0ng magalala, Bong Revilla will be our president in 2016. Mabait at masipag

    1. That will be another showcase of Filipino stupidity if Bong Revilla will be president. I’ll go for TRUE hardworkers like Gibo, Gordon and Bayani and not showbiz guys who are nothing but CLOWNS like Vincenzo. 😛

      Sensya na bord, but you’re a LIAR. The democracy that the Aquinos bring after Marcos was ousted is a bogus. A propaganda whose purpose is nothing but for rich families to cling on the status quo. Puro Yellow Propaganda ka na naman? ULOL!

      1. Not only that, we shouldn’t forget the atrocities committed by the Aquinos. *cough*Hacienda Luisita*cough*Mendiola Massacre*Cory’s request to US government to bomb her fellow FIlipinos during coup season*cough*Lupao massacre*cough*killing of Lean Alejandro*cough*

    2. After Marcos, lahat ng kagandahan ng Maynila ay binastos ng mga sumunod na presidente dahil sabi nila “malaya” na tayong gawin lahat ng gusto natin.

      At gusto mo pang i-elect bilang susunod na presidente ay si Bong Revilla? OMG have you lost your mind? I wouldn’t be surprised if you supported Amay Bisaya for VP in the past.

  4. the best thing for us to do if we really want change is to leave the philippines….or else, walang mangyayari sa buhay natin if manatili tayong nasa pilipinas…

  5. Here is my top ten list of how our collective stupidity is reflected in our daily urban daily living:

    1. Billboards
    2. The LTFRB number you can dial for any violation
    3. The empty buses clogging up EDSA
    4. People running to cross C5 and the U turns slots
    5. Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs)
    6. AM radio
    7. Eat Bulaga & and all noon/prime time shows
    8. Conrado de Quiros
    9. Kris Aquino & Boy Abunda
    10. TV Patrol & 24 Oras

      1. Yes, anong nangyari kay Conrado de Quiros. Gustong gusto ko pa naman sya basahin noon. Sensible. Used to be.

        Ngayon, potek puro propaganda para i-powerup si PNoy!

  6. Mga TORPE AT DAMUHOG!!! SAVE aside all your shallow arguments and solutions. The Worlds elite is trying to wipe MANILA and the PHILIPPINES OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH THRU HAARP WEATHER MANIPULATION. 90% of THE worlds population will be wiped out. Manila will be struck with a typhoon of biblical proportions. So the traffic in Manila is HOPELESS!!

  7. the philippines tolerated the use of public utility vehicles.. thats why marami ang sasakyan sa daan if sana wala yang mga puv atlist we as the people of the philippines will be force to buy there own vehicles.. before trains were used for travel.. y not having these kind of lokomotiv its because we want money money money thats y madami na dedisgrasya.. vehicles forced to go miles and miles havent we notice ang mahal nang maintainance nang isang sasakyan.. 3 yrs of everyday used wala na sira na yang kotse it have gone thru its estimated mileage.. lahat nalang sayang wala tayong magawa.. kung lahat lang cguro sa pilipinas tagalog maybe ang mag tao pakalat kalat na sa pinas kaso magkaiba pag pupunta ka nang ibang lugar sa pilipinas so people stick dyan sa manila kahit sobrang sikip na.. hahay pilipinas kong mahal?

  8. PLEASE DON’T REPLY TO: Vincenzo B. Arellano.
    ITS a troll.
    search that name and you’ll find a lot of similar comments from him.

    (but wait… are you doing this to be the dark night are country deserves? trying to rouse the people?? :p)

  9. Nakakainis talagang isipin kasi hindi na nga masolusyunan ng ating government ang lumalalang traffic problem sa Edsa tapos grabe pa kung makapag pataw ng traffic violation penalty ang mga kapulisan diyan!Sobra-sobrang stress na ang inaabot ng mga motorista diyan at dadagdagan pa ng mga pulis.

  10. Just sharing some of my thoughts. Some people are talking about changing the constitution or changing whom ever is elected. I think the first thing we should change is the culture. Our culture has brought us to where we are today. The culture handed down to us by the Spaniards that kept us passive under their rule for hundreds of years. We tolerated corrupt people in power then and we are still doing that today. It’s in our culture. So what am I saying do we need to abandon our heritage? Absolutely not but we need for it to grow. Every progressive country in the world has grown and adapted to modern times. They have outgrown obsolete traditions and changed negative beliefs that weren’t helping them progress. We have been an independent nation for only a little more than a hundred years, that isn’t long at all. The problems we face today are the same as the problems we had a hundred years ago perhaps more rampant but they are the same problems. Why? Because we are using the same thinking to solve it, we do that over and over and are expecting different results. What is that? That is the definition of insanity. We need to take a good hard look at our beliefs and change what is not helping us anymore for our own sake. These are modern times and we need modern beliefs and systems to face our problems. We need to change from within. Our beliefs affect our behavior and our behavior affects our lives and our lives affect our community.

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