Behavior Spotlight: Ningas Cogon


Can you still recall a day when you have a peaceful ride in the Metro Rail Transit with no overcrowding, no busted ventilation system, no long queue and no malfunctioning? If you can recall easily, that is good. Keep it up. But if you cannot recall any day, then you must have felt the ultimate stresses of one of the country’s problems in transportation. Now I did not write this post to address the transportation sector or MRT’s poor service (this will be for another time); I want to stress that MRT’s notorious status is an effect of one of the most poisonous traits for a Filipino: procrastination.


Upon research, MRT initially has proposals to improve on accommodating modes of rail transportation like the Capacity Expansion Project, the North Extension and connecting LRT-1 and MRT-3 lines. The rail transit corporation even planned for the installment of new prototype engines to replace the decades-old engines. So what happened?

Everything goes down last February with accusations of graft and corruption by the Senate to the officials of Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), including Secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya. In response, they seemed to shrug the accusations of, even though the public could see this clearly. While it may take a long article to discuss the scope of DOTC’s case, one thing is for sure. And that the agency never anticipated the period when they are placed in the country’s hotseat. Now the eyes of the public gawk at them; and the most obvious characters they see are delayers, who never sought the time the transportation system (traffic, infrastructure, all that) is at its worst.

MRT aside, procrastination is a detriment for officials to apply. As officials who hold the approval for betterment procedures for the country, they should also be responsible for its time-wise progress. The proposal may be the best part of any project manager to go through but the execution of it lessens the anticipation. The main reason why procrastination exists is that we never realize the weight for a project. We only look through the vision, not the weight of achieving that vision.

That is why the “burning of cogon grass” is the perfect analogy for this. One can easily say that it takes a swift job to get rid of grass by just burning it. But we always neglect the other part: the burnt grass. That is why that part is always forgotten and never mentioned, leaving us to wonder if it is worth putting effort to burn grass and leave its charred remains in an ugly position.

Ningas cogon

Another reason for this is from our boastfulness. From our brash attitude (the yabang), it gets frequent for us to simply admit we can achieve our plans with our reliable capability. Little did we know that we also failed to realize that we are instant quitters. Likewise, we fall apart.

For all of us Filipinos, we indeed have our own set of plans that we felt the urge to succeed. But let us also realize that with these plans come hard work, concentration and dedication to achieve it.

Now, I have to admit. I am a frequent applier of ningas cogon. We all are, since we are all big planners. And I am a big planner, who learned of the repercussions of procrastination in the hard way.

So here is a brief advice: “don’t just plan; make it happen”.




I am a Peterson, a Bosconian, a Lasallian, an ENC Member, a movie buff, a writer, a thespian, an optimist and a servant of God. And I will tell you a story.

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