Why do MMDA traffic officers need to wear diapers? They can just piss on Manila’s streets!

I don’t know what Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino was thinking when he issued — and, worse, publiciseda directive to his legions of “traffic enforcers” to wear adult diapers while on duty during the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines this month.

He said there would not be enough portable lavatories for the huge crowds expected at an open-air Mass on January 18.

“If you attend an event that will last for 24 hours, you cannot go around looking for a (portable lavatory),” Mr Tolentino said.

A sight for sore eyes for Manila's traffic officers

A sight for sore eyes for Manila’s traffic officers

Indeed, it is true that just about every public facility in Metro Manila (and the Philippines, in general) is swamped by the Philippines’ enormous population. Filipinos have multiplied way past the ability of both nature and infrastructure to support their numbers in any decent manner.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Toilets are not an exception. Philippine public toilets are among the world’s worst. Efforts to attract tourists to the Philippines have been thwarted by Filipinos’ stubborn aversion to getting their human waste management situation sorted out. No less than the country’s premier entry point, Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, has been named the world’s worst for three consecutive years because of the appalling conditions of its public toilets among other things.

Vast colonies of squatters inhabit huge tracts of both private and public lands all over the city thanks to the vote farming efforts of the Philippines’ crooked politicians. Many of the residents of these colonies lack sufficient modern plumbing and sewerage facilities and services. One can only imagine where all that excrement goes!

Clues abound, however.

Metro Manila’s waterways led by the Pasig River, its natural estuaries and the storm drain channels (known locally as esteros) that weave all over the megalopolis are all clogged by garbage and other waste products. And along the very streets of Manila, raw sewage routinely bubbles up to the surface specially during the wet season when flood waters carrying a host of scary tropical diseases rise at least knee-high even after a minute’s downpour. So it is not difficult to connect the dots here.

Funny then that all this cops-in-diapers business has come to the fore considering what most Metro Manilans fear related to Pope Francis’s much-anticipated visit is the horrific traffic jam that is likely to paralyse Metro Manila in the coming days. In truth, no amount of human resources thrown into the problem of Manila’s chronic traffic mess will solve it. This is because traffic in Manila is a systemic problem that begs for modern smart solutions rather than the medieval labour-intensive solutions Filipinos are most comfy with.

Squeezing diapers into Filipino cops’ pants is another one of those solutions that reek of the sort of desperation that has come to characterise many of the “solutions” the Philippines’ supposedly “best and brightest” have to offer to a people weary of mediocrity. Traffic during a pope’s visit is one thing. Traffic on normal days is another. And the sad reality is that any traffic that Tolentino hopes to mitigate with these moronic ideas during the papal visit cannot be that much worse than the routine traffic suffered by Metro Manilans every day.

* * *


Development “experts” often preach: It is the simplest solutions that draw upon native tradition and culture that work best.

Metro Manila’s cops don’t need to wear diapers during Pope Francis’s visit. They just need to relieve themselves at the nearest street corner. It is a world-renowned Filipino tradition that Pinoys should wear on their sleeve.

24 Replies to “Why do MMDA traffic officers need to wear diapers? They can just piss on Manila’s streets!”

  1. finally, an article that actually about problem in philippines.
    this blog should focus more on things that happen here than something about celebrities or some other countries…

  2. The reason why the diaper solution is proposed is definitely because they don’t want to change the infrastructure as it will require actual effort and patience.

    Diapers are a much more easy work-around rather than fixing the core problem.

  3. “This is because traffic in Manila is a systemic problem that begs for modern smart solutions rather than the medieval labour-intensive solutions Filipinos are most comfy with.”

    A visiting world leader will cause a disruption in traffic in any major metropolitan area regardless of how well or how poorly it is managed. Especially if the occasion expects throngs of people to line the streets in order to greet him.

    Tolentino’s directive is a misguided attempt to address the fact that already limited police resources will be assigned to extended duties WITHOUT relief. That tells criminals and terrorists that law enforcement will again be overtaxed and fatigued and likely will not be performing at their best for lack of sleep. It’s a situation that compromises an already critical security situation.

    The specificity of the MMDA directive is also troubling in that it suggests to the world that Filipino police are unprofessional. That they will abandon their posts, using the need to relieve themselves as an excuse. It gives the impression that they cannot be expected to fulfill their duties because of the inconvenience.

    1. Fair points, but could the directive have been issued discreetly and without publicity, without lawless elements getting a hold of said directive?

      1. Absolutely. There is no need to have specific details of the security arrangements or the crowd/traffic management procedures for the Pontiff’s visit available for public consumption. These are internal matters. It smacks of Tolentino grandstanding and attempting to prove he is on top of a potentially chaotic situation. As such he only succeeded in making Philippine law enforcers look stupid to the rest of the world.

  4. That diaper thing is kinda absurd. But lets look other way around. The author seems to hate the government and seems to post all his distraught to it. Have you ever experience falling in line to a public toilet? Or stuck up in traffic and the nature calls you? The upcoming Papal visit is expected to have an extensive crowd. Isn’t it expected that there will be a scarcity of public toilets for a thousand of people. Given your point of using the wall when the nature calls. Aside from promoting a bad habit, have you wonder if your stuck in the middle of the crowd will you ever find it easy to locate the wall nearest you?
    It is also expected to have heavy traffic that’s why it is declared to be a non-working holiday. So those who will whine for that traffic will only be the minority who will still have to work or probably loiter given its a holiday.
    Hate me if I’m against your principles. Thinking of a solution for what your saying problems in our country is no easy task. If you have better solution for that matter, be brave enough to be heard.
    Also we cannot avoid the fact of “kickback” in that “diaper” thing.Its really inevitable. But just because its really an unusual and ridiculous thing doesn’t mean it can’t be a solution. Lets be open-minded here. Let them do it and see if it works.

    1. Yes, I think for that occasion, diapers for traffic officers is not a bad thing.

      About the issue of ‘kickback’ it can be avoided by requesting diaper makers to volunteer by providing free diapers for that holy and important occasion. They can even provide for the Pope himself.

  5. Even for GRP, this is outrageously petty.

    I mean, sure, the city is an urban developer’s nightmare, but cities like Manila don’t just become Paris-of-the-Orient overnight. Hence this pragmatic, relatively low-cost solution, compared to your “smart” solutions, presumably technological in nature.

  6. Suggesting that they ‘do it in the road’ is what they will probably end up doing.The Pope is in for a sight beyond even what his poverty stricken homeland has to offer.
    Just the same, the Pope will have a heavy duty security detail with him and I suspect that they are already on the ground and in Manila already.Scouting out potential flash-points, security weak points etc etc….

  7. Diapers…anyone? It is the Weirdest solution of a Metro Manila Governor, that I have heard of …Cops-in-Diapers? Why not let them bring their own “tabo”…it is cheaper…they just go to the nearest fence or shrub; and relieve themselves…However, if they need to go to the toilet; that is another problem…

  8. Why Tolentino would publicize something like this is beyond me? Buckingham Palace and Arlington Cementery guards have been on incontinence diapers for longest time and nobody talks about it. Even soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan use them and nobody talks about it. But, this is PHL, so…..only in the PHL.

    Maybe he thinks he has discovered and thus introduced a technology, because in a way, these diapers are products of extensive R&D. Depending on brand and quality, a diaper is an assembly of anything from 25 to 60 parts/ pieces. Diaper is worldwide very, very big business and very competitive, so the amount of reasearch and scientific thinking that has gone into it could rival smartphones’ technology. Maybe MMDA just discovered this and are so excited about finally introducing some technology into their system…hahaha.

      1. Yup, I know what you mean, Johnny. Anything that has to do with consumable, use and throw, goods ensures steady income; better than durable goods, where tongpats would be from time to time, or one time lang. But, making a big deal about it in media? hehe, makes PHL so 3rd world vis-a-vis other countries that takes these goods for granted.
        Come to think about it, why don’t they promote it to all male PNoys who have the habit of pissing on any wall they see. Maybe, this one makes PHL ahead of India where you see the same thing with Indians in Mumbai and New Delhi. Hahaha.

        1. Even if he didn’t disclose it to the public, still the media will take this issue as an interesting scoop. Be considerate that not everyone knows the idea that this diaper thing is used by those guards and soldiers abroad. As a proof to that, they find this idea ridiculous not knowing it’s been a practice overseas. I assume that even the writer of this blog are not aware of that also.
          I agree with the idea of using diaper however overpriced diapers are to be expected. That’s the bad side of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.