Menopausal mother nature
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

Who would have imagined that deciding on whether or not to have a Christmas party would eventually become politically charged. With the Christmas season already upon us, many people are getting ready or are busy planning for their annual Christmas parties. But unlike past decades when Christmas was joyful, chilly and relaxed, Mother Nature has turned menopausal and has been unpredictable about her weather patterns and tantrums. As a result we often find the holiday festivities spoiled by super typhoons and the likes. So far we have been lucky on the weather front but cursed with a man-made disaster we call Marawi.

The only thing worse than these are man-made decisions to impose what I call mandatory sacrifices or “disaster penance” where some decision makers announce the cancelation of the Christmas party at the office, at school or some government office in order to donate the money to “Marawi.” Even more annoying are those who try to be politically correct by saying we will just donate most of the money to charity and will have a very simple Christmas party. I appreciate their social sensitivity but such decisions are achieved based on guilt and idealistically presumes or attempts to bring joy to disaster victims at the expense of people at the office or school children who have to give up their Christmas joy. If you want to help, help at the start of a disaster and from your own pocket. Fund your own benevolence but not from something intended for a different purpose. The Christmas party is a one day event, give it to the kids and the grown ups. You have the rest of the year to play Santa Claus to disaster victims. If you actually had a culture of giving in your office or schools, such concerns would already have been covered way in advance without having to impose a mandatory sacrifice during Christmas.

When I shared my thoughts with a lawyer who graduated from San Beda he quickly pointed out that many people have been obsessing over Marawi at the expense of other social concerns and causes. It seems that when San Beda hosted a fund raising golf tournament for “Marawi” so many Bedans participated and raised millions of pesos. But when a batch hosted a similar event to raise funds for the Child House project of Ricky Reyes that serves as a half-way house for children with cancer only members of the batch participated.

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After writing about “No ETC Stickers Available,” I was immediately contacted by Nelly Argota whose office manages the RFID or ETC stickers for SLEX / MATES. I learned that they did have a supply issue with their supplier but that was straightened out and the supplies were delivered the night following my unproductive visit. I went back with all the necessary documents and the entire process, just like before took less than five minutes.

For those of you who regularly travel the SLEX / Mates expressway, I really recommend getting the ETC / RFID stickers because these can save you from having to line - up to pay toll manually and with the holidays coming up you can lose 5 to 10 minutes depending on the traffic volume. Just a suggestion to Nelly Argota and the SLEX / MATES management, try to separate the buses from private vehicles who both use ETC / RFID lanes because the buses and trucks often don’t have loads on their ETCs and also causes delays on those lanes.

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Speaking of “Lanes,” quite a number of Netizens have been posting images of the yellow lanes on EDSA that are often empty or with very few buses while the car and motorcycle lanes are now more congested. Those images are most probably during non-peak or non-rush hour where many buses opt to stay in their garage or elsewhere rather than waste diesel driving empty buses. MMDA Chairman Danny Lim should seriously study opening one of the two yellow lanes during non-peak hours.  

Another suggestion being offered by many is for the MMDA and DPWH to streamline the number of lanes on EDSA particularly northbound because the major problems are areas where five lanes merge to four or three. Either block off those short areas that were gobbled up by the MRT or streamline them to stop pile ups and lane merging. Reduction of those merging lanes will also reduce obstruction and unnecessary slowdowns.

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I heard a radio commentator declare “ to those who are telling people not to panic, first have your child injected with Dengvaxia” then tell us not to panic. How mature. I had my daughter inoculated with Dengvaxia. I’m teaching her about care and protection against dengue, I will exert all possible efforts to safeguard her and all of us under my roof against dengue and we will depend on God’s wisdom and protection but not panic! 

Aside from media practitioners justifying their alarmist behavior, we now have the Justice Secretary shouting out to parents and students to go to the DOJ so they can collect information on dengue incidence related to Dengvaxia. Others are making statements that the parents were “misled,” the children were used as guinea pigs, the government should get a refund and now, they want to make it appear that ex-president Noynoy Aquino used his influence or was somehow involved in fast tracking the vaccine’s approval for use. BUT NO ONE has been talking about what to do to protect the children, what schools must do to protect their students. While so many government officials are busy yapping their mouths off, who among them have been in extensive conference with the vaccine manufacturer to form a plan of attack or program for protection. As they say in tagalog: “Huwag n‘yo na kaming takutin – dati na kaming takot” (stop scaring us because we’ve been scared from the very beginning).

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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