COMMENTARY: Siya Carmen

It was
hot, humid and dense. The street vendor selling cold, bottled water looked like
a terrorist, covered from head to toe. We were stuck for almost an hour.
Eventually, finding a left-turn exit near Makro, and seeing the ominous,
maddening buildup of vehicles at Marcos Bridge, we surrendered and decided to
return to our home sweet home in Barra.

At night,
finding the streets peaceful and suitable for human habitation, we left our
residence again and this time succeeded in reaching Museo de Oro after just 15
blessed minutes. Lourd Ostique was still there at 9 p.m., comfortable inside
his air-conditioned office, so neat and sparkling we felt we were inside a
five-star hotel. We were happy — thank you, Lourd! — and contemplated about
the possibility of regularly working at night and sleeping in the morning
instead.

Times
have changed, really. Today we are assured that the repair of Ysalina Bridge
will be finished in June. But this will be small relief. Vehicles are
multiplying like rabbits and I don’t see any sign of intelligent response
anywhere. The traffic czar Ramon Tabor and councilor Maya Enteria, true to
their being lawyers, react predictably to the chaos by talking about filing a
case against the contractor. And yet, no one at the City Council had the nerve
to sue mayor Vicente Y. Emano and UKC Builders for building a P600-million
illegal bridge in outer space. No councilor demanded Emano to explain the
desecration of our ancestral home. Only councilor Zaldy Ocon questioned the
shady transactions related to the building of the Cogon, Bulua and Carmen
markets.

There’s
also a bridge that’s supposed to connect Kauswagan and Macabalan long ago, but
it’s unfinished and idle and useless. Why are our lawyers not talking about
filing a case against anyone here?

Don’t we
have experts in the City Hall except lawyers? Where are our graduates of public
administration, accounting, engineering, history, statistics, and traffic
management? Don’t we have a City Planning Office? Don’t we have a Master Plan?

I’m
afraid that despite, if not because of, the many infrastructure projects that
the administration is bragging about, street vendors will soon be selling Comfort
100
in our
streets. It’s the brand name of a handy container for urine, popular among
drivers and commuters in Thailand during the traffic jam era. You have one
design for men, and another for women. We will import them from China. They
will be marked with “Filipino passion. Thai perfection. Chinese diction.” They
will be sold 10 pesos a dozen and, just like in the movie Mission Impossible
, they will self-destruct five
seconds after collecting liquid, until your car smells like a public toilet.

Do you
know the story from 89.3 Killer Bee about the two coeds who wanted to go to
Lourdes College and barangay Carmen? They were such in a hurry that when they
got inside a motorcab, one of them exclaimed telegraphically, “Ako Lourdes,
siya Carmen!

The
driver replied: “Ako pud si Dodong!

A little
confusion there, but as Yoyoy V. would put it, “Nagkaintindihan din sila.
” The students reached their
destinations on time. No problem.

But they
can’t do that again today. If they tell Dodong, “Ako Lourdes, siya Carmen!
”, Dodong would certainly give an
expression of concern and would most likely deliver this speech: “Mga miga,
sorry jud kaayo. Grabe ang trapik ron kay gisirhan ang tulay. Lisud kaayo bisan
diha sa Lourdes kay di ta kagawas. Maayo pa magbaklay na lang mo, then musakay
mo ug banca paingon sa Carmen. Singko ra man ang plete. Wa man pud buaya diha,
ingon nila. Pero kung gusto mo ug long cut, sakay mo ug jeep paingon sa
Taguanao. Mahal lang. Kung late na jud mo sa inyong klase, diretso na lang mo
sa SM. Bugnaw pa.

(MindaViews
is the opinion section of MindaNews. Elson T. Elizaga is a writer and
photographer. His shop Nazca Graphic Design & Photography is responsible
for the images and websites of SLERS Food, Inc., Salay Handmade Paper, Inc. and
the German pottery firm Töepferei Clemens Wirth. Send comments to
[email protected]).

 

 

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