Greta's truth-telling and Bolsonaro's politics of denial

Published 12:31 AM, September 29, 2019
Updated 10:02 PM, October 15, 2019

We're not imagining it – the city's traffic and congestion are the worst this side of the planet!

A recent study by the Asian Development Bank confirms Metro Manila is the most congested city out of all 278 cities in developing Asia.

Here are the highlights:

• Metro Manila has a congestion value of 1.5. The average congestion is 1.24.
• Riding public transport takes 3 times longer than using cars.
• 25% of the surveyed trips could not even be made by public transport.
• Too many government agencies have overlapping functions.

Things are going from bad to worse. My daily commute from Quezon City to Pasig in 2012 used to be 45 minutes. Now, I'm happy to get to work after an hour-and-a-half – because on bad days, it can take as long as 2 hours or more.

Two years ago, a study said Manila has the 3rd worst traffic in Southeast Asia. Jakarta is the 2nd placer in that list of shame, after Bangkok. The Indonesian government recently announced it's moving its capital from Jakarta to Borneo Island.

While our Asian neighbors are taking drastic steps, what solutions are we dreaming up? There's the proposal to ban cars on certain days based on car brand. There's another proposal to make C5 and EDSA one way – one going to the north, the other to the south.

30 minutes from Makati to UP. This was the very optimistic prediction made by Public Works chief Mark Villar.

Referring to Skyway Stage 3, he adds, "When this is finished, we will reduce traffic by a hundred thousand cars a day.” He admits it's an ambitious plan, but he's confident that traffic will "get better sooner than later."

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Greta and Bolsonaro. The United Nations General Assembly showed us two faces of the climate change debate.

Choking back tears, Greta Thunberg said, "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!"

In contrast, Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro tried to belie a scientific truth to peddle his view of the world.

He said, "It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception confirmed by scientists to say that our Amazon forests are the lungs of the world."

He also hit back at other countries' so-called "colonialist spirit." Bolsonaro was reacting to the world's horror over 131,600 fires burning in Brazil's Amazon since January.

Greta, the 16-year-old, argued from the point of view of sustainability and survival. In her TedTalks speech last February, she talked about growing old and wondering what terrible state the world would be in 50, 100 years from now.

Bolsonaro, the world leader, argued from the point of view of national sovereignty as if the rainforests in Brazil are detached from rainforests in Asia; as if the rainforests exist on a different planet.

The disparity in common sense and foresight couldn't be more apparent – especially coming from a teen and a man in his sixties.

Bolsonaro likes to bring up the imperialist bogeyman. Greta's logic is plain and simple, "What we do or don't do right now, I and my generation can't undo in the future."

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Recommended video:

Greta glares at Trump

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is held back by a security officer as US President Donald Trump arrives at the UN climate summit. Dubbed by media as the "stare down seen around the world," Thunberg tells a Scandinavian talk show, the viral moment was more shock than anything else.

She recently won the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the "alternative Nobel Prize."

PH Navy levels up

The Philippine Navy presents 4 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) and 3 multipurpose attack crafts (MPAC) in a ceremony in its headquarters in Manila.

The AAVs are versatile armored tanks for ship-to-shore assault operations, costing around P300 million each. The MPACs are lightweight vessels able to go as fast as 40 knots. Each vehicle costs around P270 million.

'Waste of money'

Senator Franklin Drilon says the forensic laboratory of the Public Attorney's Office is a waste of money, and a duplication of police and National Bureau of Investigation labs.

Drilon tells chief public attorney Persida Acosta, "I am not sure that your mandate includes investigative work." The PAO law does not authorize a forensic lab.

Hire planners

Urban planner Paulo Alcazaren says local executives need urban planners to make metro areas more livable. He says, "There are 16,000 architects who have world-class buildings but once you step out you get run over."

He says, "Traffic is not the problem, it's the symptom of the lack of an integrated, comprehensive transport system in the whole metropolis...." He adds the transport system should be rail-based and not motorized.

GMA7 blamed

The longtime partner of the late Eddie Garcia, Lilibeth Romero says, "Categorically, I state that Eddie Garcia's death was caused by gross negligence and unsafe working environment and the absence of a medical team on the set."

The 90-year-old cinema icon tripped on a cable during taping for a GMA7 teleserye, fell into a coma, and passed away 20 days after.

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