Everyone is Accountable

Now, I might be stating this all the time in this blog. I started stressing this in my first Tagalog blog post. So, I am placing this as both a disclaimer and an article to emphasize my point, especially for this coming elections.

“Everyone is accountable.”

Every citizen in this country is accountable for her progress. Every citizen in any status, gender, age, demographic, ethnicity, religion and relative blood counts. So it matters that everyone should not be pointing fingers as to who to blame for the issues for mother Philippines. Even to the corrupt ones, everyone should not easily point fingers.

Now, I am not saying everyone is to be liable for what have become of our status as a complicated nation. I get the reason why some groups protest as a way to express their thoughts to people who need to hear their thoughts. I am saying that everyone should act on his or her own right to lift the nation away from the issue, if that is what you want.

The best act to apply for issues is to dictate our liability, even though we think we have nothing to do with the issue, and to keep on striving to be a model Filipino that we need to be. Because, to be frank, our outcries will need to nothing but make the hole even bigger. We need to simply act on our behalf in any practical way we can think of. It will take time and effort, but it is worth everything.

How about this? If the government or any governing acts slowly to resolve issues, as we insist that it is their jobs, I think we should act ahead of them.

We should not be a spoonfed nation. We Filipinos are capable of anything. So be responsible. Take time to think about this.

Oppose? If you  do, I do want to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below. Have a nice day guys!

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Sabi Nila, “Tayo ang Pag-asa ng Bayan”

mamamayan

Karaniwan ito ang nagiging paksa ng mga patalastas ng mga kandidato tuwing halalan sa telebisyon. Karaniwan ito ay pinapalabas para sa mga mamamayan. Minsan, ito’y para sa kabataan. Alam natin na ito ay isang taktika para makuha ang tiwala ng mga ganoong kandidato. Pero ano talaga ang ibig sabihin na “Tayo ang Pag-asa ng Bayan”?

Tayo ay ipinagkaloob ng isang masaganang kalupaan na bumubuo ng 7,500 at higit pang pulo. Mula sa ipinagkaloob sa atin, tayo ang nananagot sa kanyang paggamit. Tayo ang ginawaran ng tungkulin para ito ay lumago pa, yumago pa at maipagtanggol pa. Tayo ang pumapalibot sa bawat sulok ng kapuluan. Tayo ang nangungupat kung ano ang pwedeng ikabuti ng ating kalupaan. Kaya tayo ang nararapat isagot kung ano ang magiging hinaharap para sa ating bayan.

Kaya wala nang ibang maaasahang pag-asa sa bayan kundi tayo. Siyempre, nandyan ang Panginoon upang bigyan tayo ng kapangyarihan. Pero tungkulin natin kung paano gamitin ang kapangyarihan na ipinagkaloob Niya sa atin.

Sa mga sinasabi ng mga kandidato na ang bansa ay dapat kumilos para makamtan ang kaunlaran, tayo ang dapat unang gagalaw. Siyempre, bilang mamamayan, lahat tayo ang sasagot sa mga pangangailangan ng bayan natin. At bawat isa ay may katungkulan sa kung ano ang sakop niya.

Para sa mga mag-aaral, kayo ang ginawaran ng daan upang makatanggap ng edukasyon. Sikapin nyo ang pag-aaral. At heto, laging sikaping ikamit ang kahusayan sa pag-aaral.

Para sa mga manggagawa, kayo ay ginawaran ng tungkulin upang magsilbi sa kabuhayan at kalakalan ng bansa. Laging ipunyagi ang pinakamabuting kalidad na pwede nyong ibigay.

Para sa mga pamilya at magkakaroon ng pamilya, kayo ay ipinagkaloob ng tungkulin para sa pinakaunang antas ng lipunan. Sikaping gawaran ng kalakasan ang bawat isa.

At para sa mga sumisilbi sa pamahalaan, kayo ang inihandog ng karapatan para mamuno sa mga kapwa Pilipino. Maging mabuting halimbawa sa mga umaasa sa iyong pamamatnugot.

At sa lahat, bawat isa sa atin ang pag-asa ng bayan para sa hinaharap.

Issue Spotlight: Traffic (Part 2)

To bring up, the word “traffic” should not be defined as the heavy volume of vehicles. Call it “traffic jam” instead because traffic is the lineup of vehicles, not the heaviness. So, after we previously pointed out a scenario, let us discuss why heavy traffic is a growing epidemic in our country.

EDSA traffic

  1. Motorist Discipline

Jeepney drivers think they are “kings of the road”. So does other motorists. For motorists for private vehicles, they just simply go to their designation, no matter the volume of the traffic. For motorists for public vehicles, they have multiple things in their mind: how much can they pay for gas, how much they owe the barkers and how many passengers can they still fit in their vehicle. Those behaviors clash on the road. And sometimes, as a result, they simply disregard discipline. The unahan mindset gets in the way. And motorist’s manners are in fruition. Case in point: feeds from Top Gear Philippines.

Now we don’t want this to discipline to get the best of the drivers.

  1. Pedestrian Discipline

As the other users of the road, pedestrians should have the same set of discipline as drivers do. They would always tend to delay traffic volume with crossing the road and even filling up roads.

Pedestrians should be aware where their proper designated areas are. Or else they would end up like jaywalkers. As what MMDA would always remind, “Walang Tawiran Nakamamatay”.

  1. Passenger Discipline

Like pedestrians, passengers also contribute to the traffic volume. How? Well, think about where passengers stand by for jeep, bus or tricycle. And think about the instance that these vehicles gather together. There.

  1. Vendors

A perfect opportunity vehicle buildup is for street vendors in any variety (selling water, candy, cigarettes, puppy bobbleheads and back scratchers?) to pile up and sell to potential customers on the road. It is not like that drivers or passengers have to focus on the road.

  1. Road Construction/Repairs

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Now, this is the one excusable but still insufferable for motorists and commuters. DPWH makes occasional but sudden road projects. They usually range from altering the cement to replacing damaged parts of the road. As a result, the roadways get narrowed and bottleneck traffic flows become imminent.

  1. Unfixed Authority

This is recognizable in intersections. In a typical Metro intersection, there is a traffic enforcer that controls the traffic flow. However, there is already a traffic light with a countdown meter to dictate the traffic flow. As a result, motorists get confused to what to follow. And the enforcer has to carry the weights of the traffic. This is something that can be solved easily; but with the growing urban traffic, this is something crucial.

  1. Not Much Road Regulation

More like a diversion to Reason #1, one of the reasons why traffic existed is the lack of awareness of road regulation. Examples could be not complying with the speed limit, U-turning in a no U-turn zone and having two directions in a one way zone. This can attributed to the lack of road signs or road regulation education. LTO has given enough regulations. But in the end, it is in the very hands of a motorist to be responsible on the road.

  1. Road Capacity

Here is a controversial one. Wanna know why EDSA is always overloaded? It is the only major roadway connecting six major cities in Metro Manila (Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Quezon City and Caloocan). So apparently, workers, students and other casual commuters travel to locations that can be passed via EDSA. Yeah, it is like the notorious highway can handle millions of commuters a day; and that is just for rush hour.

  1. Poor Urban Planning

And this is the reason to be clear on EDSA’s epidemic. The freeway’s vicinity is home to one of the country’s most known shopping malls, making it endurance in the holidays. EDSA also connects two business districts: Makati CBD and Ortigas Center, and gives access to Bonifacio Global City. So clearly, workers will have to flock through the freeway to get to their job sites. And people fresh from Sunday church would fill every void along EDSA’s shopping centers. Pretty much this leads up to unforeseen effects in the mode of transportation.

  1. Overpopulation

And finally, here is one apparent but one ignored. We have reached to a point where the 100 millionth Filipino was born. Population will continue to increase. And seeing from our current standpoint, it will take a long period to return to the seamless traffic flow.

Other reasons fall to the uncontrollable variables like heavy rains, transport strikes and other disasters.

Now I am not here to point fingers on who to blame for traffic congestion. It is in our hands to how we use the paved roads. Everyone is accountable to how traffic flows.

Issue Spotlight: Traffic

Welcome to the series, Issue Spotlight, where we tackle the issues that the electoral candidates will likely to discuss on campaign period. Previously, we had the first post for Behavior Spotlight, a series of articles highlighting the signature Filipino traits, both positive and negative. Now, for this series, let us discuss the country’s most prominent issues.

To start, let me illustrate a commuter’s typical travel in Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

Traffic

So we have a not much lowly worker based on Mandaluyong. He has to travel from his hometown in Calamba to his site in the Ortigas business district for around three hours. Luckily, there is a bus terminal taking him to Cubao, with a convenient queue that takes almost fifteen minutes of his time to wait for another bus to arrive. As the bus arrives for roughly twenty minutes, he has to wait for ten-ish minutes for the bus to prepare travel.

Once the bus is on the road, he calmly rests on his seat, as the travel goes smoothly as he expected but soon slows down from a bottlenecked part of the highway. It cost him nearly an hour just to escape the tree-headed highway. Though, the traffic ranges from mobilizing to halting.

As he spotted the Metropolis by the distance, he is delighted to see the sight of the Metro, allowing him more time to chill. But another bottlenecked route is stumbled upon because of a road construction, as shown by road cones closing one lane. As his ride traverses through the highway, the traffic builds up. So this resorts the bus to take the upper highway. But still, another queue of vehicles is stumbled upon. Yet, that highway is a breath of fresh air from its spectacular bird’s eye view.

After a relieving travel, the bus stumbles upon another huge traffic volume. This time, it is assured that these vehicles are entering the country’s most notorious roadway. The man checks his watch; he learns that he has only an hour before calltime. But he is hopeful he will reach his destination on time. The traffic volume builds up more and more. He observes that many vehicles swerve to lanes with lighter traffic, causing the traffic to get heavier.

However, his bus stops by a waiting shed, prompting the driver to call in more passengers. The man grows offended by this but he decided not to let his anger get the best of him. The lane where the bus picks up passengers is filled with overloading buses. The bus at the front – an ordinary bus, if you will – is on standby for passengers.

After twenty-five minutes in the other business district, the bus traverses through sluggish traffic. The man has enough jam on his bag. He can only stare at his window, seeing street vendors passing through the middle and passengers passing by. After ten minutes, the bus stumbles upon an intersection with a countdown stoplight controlling the traffic. However, he discovers that the stoplight feel unused as he spots a traffic enforcer controlling the traffic. So it becomes a mishmash of what to follow.

Finally, he arrives at his stop, still blocked by public transportation. As the bus door opened, he rushes to his destination as he has only fifteen minutes to spare. The man has to take an FX traversing inside Ortigas. But as he expected, the traffic is heavy. Not wanting the traffic to occupy his mind for the remainder of the day, he scoots it off to a brief nap. But he gets frustrated for the fact that the traffic is composed of swerving vehicles, sneaky motorcycles and parked vehicles near the sidewalk.

And finally he arrives at work, nearly five minutes late. This man’s story is just one of the many stories for everyday commuters. People blame traffic for this detriment. But it is more than just traffic. There are factors to discuss but that is for another article. Stay tuned for that.

Behavior Spotlight: Monday Blues

Another Holy Week has passed. And a brand new week starts. For people with appointments, you know what that means.

Monday

Never failed to meet expectations. Now, the “I hate Mondays” syndrome is nothing new of our culture. In every country, you can spot people who are fearful of weekdays/workdays. Back in college, this is something common I would see in my social media feed, of numerous hullabaloos that can fill a bulletin board with Post-its.

For citizens who aspire to achieve something in their own field, this is inescapable. But we let this mindset seep into our collective consciousness for multiple reasons. It can be that we see no sign of physical progress in our work. Or it can come from bringing in the stresses of last week to the upcoming week. Or it can result from being too fixated on what happened in the weekend. Or it can just be plainly natural that we are fearful of workload. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, for there are many other reasons why we receive Monday blues.

Now, I admit I experienced Monday blues back in college, notably when in crucial periods like midterms and final exams. And that is for the reason that I am aware of what I will expect for the week. As a result, I set my expectations lower to the unenthusiastic wayside and let Monday blues sink on me. But I got to be frank, I did that just to gain attention and initiate a trivial conversation with my colleagues, which became poisonous. It is if I am bowing to an unproductive conformity. And that is a striking but unnoticeable repercussion to letting Monday blues set up stone for how the rest of the week will be.

Monday2

The “I hate Mondays” syndrome can be traced to the typical Juan Tamad mindset. Okay, so we are familiar of the Juan Tamad folklore, especially the part when the titular character waits simply for a guava to fall off from a tree he was lying under? Now I want to highlight that premise. It is typical for Filipinos to have a laid back attitude, to just calm away from troubles and settle for less. Because less is defined as safe and sound. The case of waiting for a guava to fall for us is a case of settling for less, disregarding its unhealthy effects, which could lead to typical Filipino unproductivity.

Okay, to make it clear, not everyone is subjected to this mindset. There are some Filipinos who do constant work without effect. But for the popular, this is apparent. Even ads tend to address this issue and cash in on it.

But I know what you are expecting. How can we counter Monday blues?

Don’t settle to the norm. Simple as that.

Things to Learn from the Brussels Bombings

Brussels

Let me pause for a moment talking about the Philippine elections and reflect on the latest global catastrophe. As Filipinos, this is something to take note of.

Another tragedy struck in Brussels, Belgium when four terrorists sent destruction in two locations in the city, killing 31 and injuring 300. These suicide bombings that happened in Brussels Airport and Maelbeek/Maalbeek metro station were the deadliest terrorist attacks in Belgium’s history. It really recalls the attacks from Paris last November, as it was also perpetuated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL. Europe is truly at risk as the Middle East continues to be seized by war and the migration crisis escalates. As one sympathizes for the loss of many, one can also see what needs to be done in a tragedy like this. With the power of social media, there is something we can do in response to conflicts these. So, here are five ways we can respond to the Brussels attack:

  1. Understand the situation.

To receive news like this is to understand its situation and not just accept it like a freebie. One needs to know the scope and the circumstances that made this story happen. It also requires us to be aware of the Middle East war and ISIS. The good news is that the power of growing social media helps us to understand news stories. It doesn’t take time to get informed and empathize on the people affected. This is what should be done, for we cannot instantly label stereotypes along the way. Terrorism is a complex tale.

  1. Get involved by 5 minutes.

Though I highly encourage civilian involvement when it comes to these situations, sometimes it is better to get involved for a short amount of time. The main reason does not only rest on the fact that we still have a personal life to handle, but it is also for the fact that the situation does not require all of our attention. We can just check the news, understand it deeply, probably share about it online and just move on. We don’t want to get deeper in the issue. Or it will end up in an endless tread. Speaking of which…

  1. Do not go aloof about the situation.

This is a dangerous direction. What do I mean by this? It means sticking on the situation, not dragging it to another direction and not throwing more salt in the wound. The reason why I find the comments section unwatchable is that the comments were not even related to the subject. They tend to disrespect the subject in a matter of opinions. Look, there is a place of everything. It does not mean the world empathizes only to the Belgium victims that they also neglect the harsh situations in Syria. Respect the situation. And do not be too expressive about the news.

  1. Do not let the norm (or even the news) take over your views.

Relating to the two previous lessons in nature, one should not be selective on what opinion they should abide on. Everyone has his or her own views to issues. The best thing we can do is abide on the greater good and not let the popular take over our thoughts. It only means not to get that immersive to media in any form. But hear me out. Current events are good. Media in any form is good. But letting it dictate your views will just take us in a loop. About the “popular”, do not always go with the flow because allowing it will drag you to another direction. Like I said, understand the situation in Belgium and be critical about what you are getting from it.

  1. Continue to pray for the victims and their loved ones.

The best efforts we can always offer are prayers. I promise. Prayers do help in every way. It only takes a minute or so to dedicate our prayers for peace in the destructed city, to those who were affected and to the loved ones of the victims. If you are not the prayerful type, then do way #2.

Tragedies like the Brussels attack come lurking in the corner. And when it happens, it is in our responsibility to how we should react as stewards to this planet. At the end of the day, we need to stand firm on the greater good, for the betterment of our world. And the first step to that is responsible media use.

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Condolences to the loved ones of the victims who had lost their lives in the attack. #JeSuisBrussels

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Filipino’s greatest fear

Pimple

“It is said that the greatest fear is fear itself.” Former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in presumable response to Jejomar Binay’s conflict with the COMELEC last Sunday. It is clear that Duterte is referring to the allegations against the former Makati City mayor.

But for me, this issue has something to do with our common fear as Filipinos: facing fear. Let me illustrate.

A growing occurrence in my life is at the end of every lecture, a teacher or proctor or trainer opens up the floor for questions from his or her students. Common response will be a resounding beat of silence. Get to relate? Well, it always happens. It maybe for the reason either that the students already understand the topic or they want the whole session in a jiffy or they must be scared of asking questions because…it is embarrassing. I pick the latter. (As for the middle, that’s for another article.)

Now, I can assume that the reason may come from the fact that the teacher acts like a monster. But, no. We are just shy. We don’t like to participate in crucial stuff, not unless we are paid back. We are too timid to ask a question because it screams of assumptions that we have not learned anything or that we are simply wasting each others’ time. We fear that fear itself will take us away from our own precious comforts.

I am not sure if timidity is a natural Filipino negative trait. But it is heavily tied to our conservative beliefs. Dumaguete-based psychiatrist Dr. Angel V. Somera stated that our family upbringing and religious beliefs led us to inhibit extreme cases of bashfulness and tend to pass this down from generation to generation. So, it is common to see reticent Filipinos who get too contented with their comfort zones and never given that much responsibility in their lives.

And it is not to say that our shyness defines us all. There are Filipinos who break from the norm and make a difference. But it is our unhealthy contentment to be secured in our “personal zones” that becomes a detrimental norm. For short, shyness is stressful. Fearing fear will make it more stressful.

That becomes more apparent when it comes to the upcoming elections, when both candidates and voters are placed in a pedestal where their choices will stamp an identity and an image of our nation. Candidates will be facing an enormous role that they never anticipate, once the positions are given to them. Or face allegations that tamper their reputation. And voters will be confronting if their choices are out of fear or out of trust; out of conformity or out of confidence.

In every situation, we will always be put in an uncomfortable state. Our duty as Filipinos is to not compromise to our trait flaws. (Trust me, there are a lot.) For our conventional shyness, it can happen a lot of times. Let fear guide us, not scare us. But our job is not to embed it to our absorbent subconscious. Because for real, we are all scared.

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