Friday, July 24, 2009

San Joaquin Gridlock

I am a very patient person. But today I am taking an exception.

It's there for everyone to see and experience - day in and day out, night and day, rain or shine.

Whether you are on a jeepney, an FX or in your private car, you are fair game. No one is spared - unless you can brave the heat or the rain and start walking instead of frying in your seat.

I am talking about the worsening traffic condition on half of the San Joaquin intersection in the boundary between Pateros and Pasig. I say half because traffic seems to pile up only along the Pateros - Bambang leg of the four-way intersection. In plain language, those coming in and out of Pateros better be ready to sit it out as traffic moves inch by inch.

Anyone who passes by this route will not fail to notice this anomalous injustice to Pateros residents. Traffic typically comes to a halt in front of the Iglesia ni Cristo chapel. Then it slowly inches its way past the intersection - two to three cars at a time. You try not to be angry, telling yourself this must be a very busy intersection.

But then when you are just two or three cars away from the front of the line and the precious intersection crossing is within sight, the anomaly starts to unfold right before your bewildered eyes. If expletives coupled with overheating engines and wasted gas and time can kill, those Blue Boys manning the intersection would all be serenely smiling from under a glass cover. Parang natutulog lang...

The intersection falls within the jurisdiction of Pasig, and their Blue Boys are all over the place. And you do not need to have an IQ higher than your age to understand what these Blue Boys are trying to do.

It is quite obvious that they are there not to make sure that traffic is running smoothly in this very busy intersection. Instead, they are there to make sure that traffic coming from M. Concepcion St. gets into Elizco Road as fast as the blink of an eye. Never mind if the people on the Pateros side fry on their sweat.

The heck! These Blue Boys keep vehicles on the Pateros side at bay even when vehicles from Buting have been wheezing by so very far and few in between. While trying to recall some anger management tips I read on the Internet, I tried some simple math. I counted. For every 3 or 5 vehicles coming from Pateros, there are about 50 that they let pass from the other sides. Now, is that not protectionism or what?

One for you, two for me. Three for you, six for me. Fair enough? The rich kid sure knows how to share his blessings with the poor neighbor.

But we cannot begrudge the Pasig Blue Boys for making sure their portion of the intersection is traffic free. After all, they will protect the businesses that make sure they get their salaries. What gets my goat is the seeming apathy of the local officials of Pateros. I wonder where they pass by when they have to go Megamall? Are they so blind to this obviously unfair practice of our more wealthy neighbor?

Illegal settlers who hold the vote in Makati killed the Pateros River. They choke the national road leading to our town with illegally parked vehicles, illegal FX and jeepney terminals, illegal vendors above and under our bridge. They even have the gall to call our beloved "Toll Bridge" the Comembo Bridge in a billboard they put on both sides of the bridge. We let Makati trample on us, now are we letting Pasig do the same? Who's next, Taguig?

If we let our neighbors treat us so shabbily, we might just as well elect a Barangay Chairman for Peteros in 2010 instead. Will it be Taguig, Pasig or Makati? Take your pick.

Me? I am staying put. I love my little town, warts and all. This is home like no other.

Taga Pateros ako. Disiplinado at may kapwa-tao!

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