Disgusted at lack of discipline, blatant disregard of rules on Edsa bus lane

As a private motorist, I usually ply the C5 Road route to and from work. Parallel to C5 Road is Edsa which I sometimes take on my way home. While stuck in Edsa traffic, I look with envy at the buses whizzing by along the Edsa busway, the exclusive and dedicated lane for buses plying the Edsa route. Occasionally I see ambulances with sirens blaring, police vans, and lots of not-so-wise motorists apprehended by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel at some point along that exclusive busway.“

Kaya nga ‘busway’ ang tawag ‘di ba?! … Bus ka ba?! … Ambulansya ka ba na may dalang naghihingalong pasyente?! … Police van ka ba?! … Presidente ka ba ng Pilipinas?! … Vice president ka ba ng Pilipinas?! … O kaya Senate President? House Speaker kaya? o baka naman Chief Justice ng Supreme Court?! … “ These are the usual dialogue auto-played on my mind as I shake my head in disgust over such disregard for traffic rules. And waste of money. Imagine forking P5,000 penalty fee on the first offense?! … which could have been wisely avoided if law-abiding motorists would just be patient enough to bear Edsa traffic like the rest of us who are not “anak ng Diyos” or who think they cannot be stuck in traffic like the rest of the Filipino humanity.

Lately, vehicles bearing protocol plates distributed to government officials, whether elected or appointed, have been spotted using that dedicated lane for buses, accompanied by their “hawi” or “hagad” personnel on motorcycles. In an interview I heard over the radio last week, the interviewee, a congressman, reasoned out that public officials may use the Edsa busway so they can get to their sessions early and not be late. I am paraphrasing what he said. Well, dear sir, maybe public officials should leave their houses earlier in order to get to their important meetings earlier. Makes sense right?

The incident involving a driver who claimed to be part of a convoy of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla stirred things around. With a stricter bus lane policy implemented by MMDA that started on Nov. 20, 2023, authorities observed a decline in apprehended motorist violators. Writer Benjamin Lim reported that “As of Tuesday, Nov. 28 … at least 53 vehicles have been apprehended and issued citation tickets, 32 of which are motorcycles, 16 are four-wheeled vehicles, three vans, one public utility bus, and one public utility jeep.” Maybe these motorists have P5,000 in their pockets for the penalty fee. As of Nov. 29, the MMDA has launched a restructure operations group equipped with body-worn cameras as “a means of protecting both the enforcers and the motorists apprehended.”

Motorists who don’t use Edsa and those who live outside “Imperial Manila” must be wondering what the fuss is all about regarding the Edsa bus carousel lane. They are not affected directly. But indirectly, this situation displays, once again, first, the utter disregard for basic traffic rules and regulations in our country. Public officials, elected or appointed, should be role models in following basic traffic rules and regulations among other things. A PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST. This is the ideal concept of a public office. “The officer holds this power [entrusted by the people] to be used only for [the people’s] benefit and never for the benefit of himself or of a few … “ They should not abuse or misuse such power or authority entrusted to them by the public. Second, the lack of discipline and blatant disregard of traffic rules and regulations by Juan de la Cruz, and third, that the religious vigilance of the Filipino people on such breaches on public trust should bring positive actions and hopefully, much-needed societal change.