State of mindlessness

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    IS THERE a functioning government in the City of San Fernando?

    After the slew of anakpu… and taknayda…came that realization to this logical one, stuck in horrendous traffic at the Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road, er, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, last Friday.

    Horrendous, graaabeee, as in bumperto-bumper from Mexico westward and vice versa at JASA, and two-lanes of the NLEx, both northbound and southbound, to the San Fernando Exit occupied for over a kilometer.

    The cause? Sale at the S&R Membership Shopping warehouse. Where two lanes of JASA became instant parking lots.

    Coming in from Sta. Ana, we started our long road to Calvary right in front of the Mexico parish church – aye, on hindsight now, a precursor of the distress to come: the patron Sta. Monica traditionally dedicated to sufferings, for her anguish over the iniquities of her son Augustine in his youth.

    That was 11:15 a.m. Travelling virtually by inches, we reached the Lagundi rotunda after about an hour – a distance of three kilometers or so.

    Finding a break at the rotunda going to the old road, we veered from the JASA traffic that had come to a standstill approaching SM.

    It was like going from the frying pan into the fire. Traffic was as, if not more, intolerable, given the road being much narrower than JASA. And seeming like just about every motorist going eastward or westward had the same idea I had to avoid JASA.

    A short three-kilometer stretch took all of some 45 minutes to negotiate, finding some relief in a detour in Barangay San Jose through that one-lane steel bridge to the University of the Assumption. And, serendipitously, finding that newly constructed concrete two-lane bridge with a house for its northern approach – yeah, as stupid as any traffic solution can get here.

    It was a breeze therefrom through Unisite Subd. to MacArthur Highway to the connecting road to Gen. Hizon Avenue, through Sta. Lucia to Capitol onto Lazatin Boulevard and home to St. Jude Village.

    All of a little over two hours. And we were luckier. Those who stuck by JASA took much longer.

    Maybe, they had a higher level of tolerance to suffering. Or that they had the same mindset as Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade’s that traffic is just “a state of mind.”

    Honestly, I tried Tugade’s illusion. Thinking of pleasant, beautiful things – our courtship, complete with papungay-pungay mata to the wife at the front passenger’s seat, our autumn in Kyoto, by the beach WHHPSSP – that is walking-hand-in-hand-pasway-sway-pa… But still, the reality struck: we are stuck in a gridlock. And not even the deepest om-ah-hum meditation can alter that reality.

    Being stuck in traffic simply sucks.

    So, we look for the scapegoat to blame.

    So, was there a functioning government in the City of San Fernando that Friday?

    A big yes: the city living up to its hall-of-fame elevation as most business-friendly city – can it be any friendlier to S&R by dedicating two lanes of JASA as its private parking lot?

    On the other hand, one can’t help but wonder how the city executive could ever be bestowed a Lingkod Bayan – public servant – award when that single sales event can hold virtually the whole city to a standstill, the public greatly inconvenienced to say the least.

    Ayayay, the moniker of hizzoner nga pala is EdSa. See any konek there?

    Aye, in the context of Tugade’s thesis: with EdSa, the state of EDSA is transposed to JASA.

    No, I am not accusing anyone of incompetence here. The horrendous traffi c last Friday being a mere state of mindlessness, to inversely, if not perversely, paraphrase my favorite Tatalonian Toughie at CDC, now DOTr heavy.

    Yeah, as one former mayor of San Fernando – no, not Oca Rodriguez – used to say: “Traffic is a sign of progress. The more traffic, the more progress.”

    So, decongest Metro Manila, bring everything to Pampanga.

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