Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rich man, poor man

The vehicle reduction ordinance, or the number coding scheme, has been suspended in Baguio for the duration of the on-going Fil-am Golf Tournament. “Why?” My son asked on our way to school today, a Friday, the day we’re not supposed to bring our car to town for our plate ends in 9. For the benefit of more than a thousand golfers and their families and friends who are here for the annual Fil-Am Golf Tournament, I answered.

What’s wrong with making it easy for visitors to our beautiful city to go around town without having to worry about getting their SUVs stopped for having that particular last digit on their license plate on a particular day? It actually makes sense and I am sure that it was easy for the mayor to make the decision.

You know, like how easy it was for them to think of a way to ease the traffic along General Luna Street during the morning rush hour - ban public utility jeeps from passing there. You know, just like it was easy for them to grant SM the permit to mow down a whole forest so they can make the biggest mall in Baguio even bigger, and earn more money in the process. Just like it was easy for them to surrender our streets to Jadewell before, and the market to Uniwide – so that these businesses can do more business and earn more money.

Those who have less in life must have more in law. That’s not the case in our city. Here, those who have more in life are given even more in law and everything else. They don’t see anything wrong in looking the other way when it comes to the concerns of the moneyed.

Thousands have been clamoring to pedestrianize Session Road to help clean the air in the city’s central business district and provide the masses a some relief from carbon monoxide, but since it faced stiff opposition from the business owners in the area, the idea has been shelved. The welfare of a few against that of the greater majority, and for the powers-that-be, the former’s always trumps the latter’s.

Jeepneys carrying two dozens of the city’s children from the eastern part of Baguio on their way to school in the morning must walk the extra couple of hundred meters or so because their ride’s not allowed to enter General Luna Street, so that those comfortably in their cars can be dropped off right at their school’s doorstep. If traffic was the main concern for the decision, then ban the private cars instead and allow the jeeps in, for they carry more people.

What I don’t understand, I shared with my son, is why they find it very easy to make decisions that would benefit those who already have more in life, more often at the expense of those who have less?

In the meantime, be careful when crossing Session Road for the duration of the Fil-Am Golf Tournament: they’ve neglected to paint the pedestrian lanes with stripes for people on foot, and a golfer’s SUV is on its way.

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