This article may seem biased for some. Feel free to comment. I wrote this back in 2005.
Although the methods of Bayani Fernando in implementing the law
seems to be absurd, it may just be what is needed by the public.
Since the year when Bayani Fernando was appointed chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, many things have changed and have come up in the streets of Metro Manila which we did not notice in the past MMDA administration if there is really anything to be noticed about. He was all of a sudden the talk of the town because of his odd ways of implementing the law and most importantly his political will and determination in doing his job. He was once even called merciless because of the way he drove of the squatters and the sidewalk vendors. Indeed, there was no other way because these people never listened. They kept their ground so the only way left was to use force against them. BF said that he was just doing his work and that was to implement the law.
Until now he’s still up and running with even more absurd ways of making Metro Manila his own dream city. Some of the methods he is using are just copy from other countries which have worked for them like the U-turn slots and which are very ideal for our traffic problems. For an engineer’s point of view, these U turn slots are effective because it keeps the traffic flow moving. Cars do not have to stop at intersections so it’s more beneficial for people who would go straight. And for those who are making turns, they just have to take u turn slots which are just few meters away. Other people think that it’s just a waste of time making u-turns because they think that these slots are very far from the streets which they should originally be making turns. But consider the time wasted waiting on red lights at intersections compared to the time taken to travel to the nearest slot.
Only in the Philippines have we seen fences preventing pedestrians on crossing busy roads and for vehicles to avoid loading and unloading passengers on prohibited areas which shows clearly how hard-headed Filipinos are. Bayani said, “We had to think of a way to enforce discipline on Filipinos who refuse to follow basic traffic and road rules.” which led to the fences’ installation. The fences as of now can be considered as effective because it kept people from staying on the critical parts of road like the corners especially on intersections and even preventing people from occupying almost half of the width of the road. A good example is what has been done to the Aurora-EDSA intersection in Cubao. All its four corners were planted with pink fences to make people wait for their rides meters away from the intersection, because a clear intersection means a healthy traffic flow. But some Filipinos still do not obey the rules. They still go near fences to wait for their rides. We all know that they are just few but it still irritates my eyes seeing pedestrians beside these fences on the wrong side of it which is the road part which are intended for the use of vehicles. Do they know the meaning of pedestrian sidewalks? Maybe not because they do not know also the meaning of pedestrian crossings thinking that these white parallel stripes on the road are just for design. Are they trying to mock the MMDA officers or they just want to display their amazing stupidity?
Are these type of people just plain stupid or are they just selfish? Not everybody notices it but it is selfishness in a way that keeps our roads from being orderly. If each one of us will only think of our own convenience without thinking of what its effect might be on the society, then absolutely no order will be observed. Selfishness or not, the MMDA would not just stare at these people doing nothing, so they thought of using the very basic way of teaching and warning them. The MMDA installed numerous signs with words of font sizes of about a thousand pixels to make sure that even people with cataract can see it. It even used basic Tagalog words of what they should do and what will happen if they disobey it. “WALANG TAWIRAN NAKAMAMATAY.” So if you are still found just a few meters from these signs, there will surely be no excuse that you did not see it.
We all know that it is normal here in the city to see commuters waiting for rides while occupying almost half the width of the road. Another solution that the MMDA thought of was the wet flag policy that did not prove to be effective because of the lack of vehicles to install the wet flags. It just caused the pedestrians to go back to the middle of the road after the wet flag has already passed by. But this absurd method woke up different local government units and made them react. Some said that it is okay that you can see the agency doing what they can do to instill discipline but a majority said that it was useless, inefficient and the agency just made a laugh out of themselves. They even said that they should think first before implementing something. The MMDA answered back simply saying that at least they are doing something unlike the different LGUs who only know how to criticize what the other agencies are doing. They also said that they have been trying to make arrangements with the city mayors to agree upon what to do regarding this certain problem and no one responded. Now when the project is on the go, everybody just seems to want the media to listen to what they have to say regarding the wet flag policy. Why now when it is already being implemented? Why call it useless when the city mayors themselves are not doing anything? Why now claim that you yourselves, the city mayors, already have the plans for this problem and just not have the time to implement it? Plans are not plans forever. They are supposed to be executed. Probably these city mayors just talk when a hot issue comes, for them to shine in being in favor of the public regarding the policy, a very cheap tactic for a lowly politician. Even if it did not work that effectively, at least it showed the people who among their leaders are doing what they can for progress and who are just making use of their positions for popularity and fortune from corruption.
All of these problems on the road came about because of lack of discipline of pedestrians as well as drivers of vehicles. So if there’s no way to teach them to obey the law, then forcing them to obey it might be the proper solution and its better if it is more unconventional. We should try new ways to make Metro Manila a better place because we are all tired of seeing the same problems of our streets day after day. Change should be done and it should be to develop and improve our standards of living.
If you are talking about improvement, Bayani Fernando is definitely the right man for the job. Everybody can call him merciless but he does not even care as long as he thinks that it is for the progress of the city. In fact he should be considered as one of the most politically-willed non-politician who ever held a position in the government. He is just a servant of the people who does things which he thinks are right. He does not mind if the people who are getting mad at him are also the ones who could get him a higher position in office. He just wants to do his job and make Metro Manila the city that he dreamed of.