5 Lame-Brained Schemes From The MMDA

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has been aggressively trying to remake Manila into another Singapore.

Never mind that Manila, with 22 million residents, has more than five times the population that Singapore has, and less than a pinch of the resources.

Never mind that Manila is congested as fuck, and is a hodge-podge of 17 cities and municipalities that have different priorities and attitudes toward human rights. Never mind that Singapore is a city-state. MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando has a dream, and nothing as trivial as concrete reality can stop him.

Over the years, the powers that be at the MMDA, which we presume consists of the same pool of writers that brainstormed on the monster villains in Ultraman, has come up with zany schemes to get the people of Metro Manila to behave like Singaporeans. Judging from the fucked-up schemes they’ve come up with, life must be pretty shitty in Singapore.

Anti-Jaywalking Faraday Cages

Anyone who has ever spent a day driving on the mean streets of Manila will tell you that jaywalking is a Filipino pastime. Sometimes, people cross highways seemingly at random, ignoring pedestrian overpasses just a few feet away.

Hundreds of people die each year crossing roads where they shouldn’t, and when even MMDA-posted signs warning that jaywalking could kill them didn’t stop people from  jaywalking (and dying,) the MMDA realized they needed to kick the game up a notch.

And the gimps at their central office came up with this:

I must be getting smart to beat a smart mouse like Algernon. But I dont feel smarter."

What’s Wrong With It?

God, in all His wisdom, (or Nature, in all its seeming randomness,) gave us free will and dignity. This monstrosity pretty much took that, threw them away and then pissed on what was left.

This cage is like one of those rat mazes that PETA hates, but for people, which means PETA won’t really care about that. Unless,like, a bunny or something has to pass through.

True, Manila has a jaywalking problem, but it also has a pickpocket and stick-up issue. With your path pretty much limited to wherever the MMDA wants you to go, they’ve deprived pedestrians of the best defense against muggings: running away. Thanks to Bayani Fernando, you’ll have no place to run in case someone tries to take away your valuables at knifepoint. Your only consolation as your life fades is that you did it in an orderly fashion.

The Imelda Marcos Approach To Urban Beautification

Years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and the country was so opressed that you couldn’t even say it was opressed or you’d go to jail, the MMDA (then the Metro Manila Commission) was ruled by Imelda Marcos, lover of beauty.

To prepare Manila for the visit of Pope John Paul II, she hid Manila’s slums behind walls. So, for a while, the majority of Metro Manila residents were hidden away like Harry Potter was in the beginning of the series. Except Manila’s poor didn’t have secret magical powers, only spirit-crushing, mind-numbing poverty.

Bayani Fernando has taken the same route, but he’s doing it in a friendlier fashion. Instead of just chasing squatters off and demolishing their homes so he can hide them behind a wall, he’s hiding them behind facades that are sort of like walls with windows. Which, I guess, makes the realization that not only are you poor, but your city is ashamed of you and instead of designing programs to help you, hides you away like some deformed half-brother a little easier to bear. At least it isn’t… You know what? This is one of those situations that “at least” doesn’t apply.



What’s Wrong With It?

The human race has been trying this approach for years, starting with the Jews in, well, I guess, since forever. It’s called a ghetto, and it doesn’t work. No matter what Jay-Z, Dre and, most recently, Akon (with his song called, aptly enough, “Ghetto”,) say, the ghetto isn’t a cool place to live in.

Out of sight, out of mind does work, after a fashion. By walling off the poor sections of the urban sprawl, the MMDA has provided criminal elements (and actual criminals) a place to hide out.



What makes it worse (only on the principle that it doesn’t make anything better,) Fernando has plastered his name on the walls. It’s a prelude to his 2010 presidential campaign, obviously, because he’s going to need those people he ran out of their homes and hid behind walls for being eyesores to vote for him. What a fucking cunt.

Plate Numbers on Helmets

With criminality on the rise, and more and more snatchers using motorcycles as getaway vehicles,the MMDA, tasked with disposing of Manila’s garbage, regulating vehicle traffic and other things not related to what cops do, decided to step in.

Their solution? Motorcycle riders were required to display their license plate numbers prominently on their helmets. That way, victims can easily identify riders who rob them.

A Criminal

A Criminal

What’s Wrong With It?

Well, you see, unlike things like DNA and fingerprints, it’s a pretty simple thing to switch helmets.

On the basis of a half-assedly studied measure, motorcycle riders will have to wear some sort of identifying mark that assumes that they’re criminals or deviants of some sort. It’s sort of like Nazi Germany with their pink triangles and Stars of David, but with no casualties, so it’s not like that at all, but it’s pretty discriminatory is my point.

The motorcycle community protested, but Bayani Fernando, man of no nonsense action stood firm. Until a horde of bikers trooped to his office to set him straight. Fernando didn’t even come out of the building, and meekly announced that the MMDA would review the matter.

Prison Buses/Prisons On Every Corner

In another attempt to instill discipline on Metro Manila, the MMDA instituted prison buses and neighborhood prisons to detain jaywalkers, litterbugs and other dregs of society.

Don’t worry, you won’t be imprisoned overnight. Just for half an hour, two hours tops.  But in the meantime, you’ll be in full view of other pedestrians and exposed to Manila Smog (capitalized because it is an entity in itself) which means you’ll die of humiliation, and then, of lung cancer many years later. Or you could do your time on the prison bus and forced to watch MMDA documentaries to reeducate you on your civic duties.

(Wesley Snipes sold separately)

(Wesley Snipes sold separately)

What’s Wrong With It?

Prison buses. Do you know who else gets on prison buses? Actual criminals and Wesley Snipes when he played a guy who was wrongfully accused of committing a crime. Jaywalking, littering, peeing on the sidewalk, these are ordinance violations at best, not the kind of thing to do hard time for.

Arbitrary U-Turn Slots

To keep traffic flowing steadily, the MMDA eliminated virtually all intersections on Manila’s main roads and replacing them with seemingly randomly-placed U-turn slots.

It works,too. The MMDA reports a 90% increase in travel speeds along the C-5 Road (Also called Carlos P. Garcia Avenue.)

90% faster than you at getting into girl's pants

90% faster than you at getting into a girl's pants

What’s Wrong With It?

While a 90% increase in travel speed is nothing to sneeze at, a 4% increase along Katipunan Ave. (also called the best street ever) does not compensate all that much for the extra kilometer that you have to travel to take the U-turn and drive to your destination. This means more fuel consumed, more greenhouse gases emitted, and more bad vibes created. That negligible increase in travel speed? It’s speeding the Earth closer to drowning us in former ice caps.

U-turn slots also tend to not stay in one place. Think of them as concrete mushrooms and not as a part of an intricate, relatively-efficient traffic system. The MMDA, more fickle than gods, can just decide to move a U-Turn slot or make it disappear completely. So, that 4% increase in speed can just as easily turn into an extra 10% in swearing as you try to figure out where to turn.

With the MMDA coming up with wacky schemes at the drop of a hat, and with Bayani Fernando intent on running for president in 2010, one has to wonder if this is what a Fernando (but not Poe, Jr.) administration has to offer: an ad-hocracy even more fickle and more insensitive to human rights than what we currently have.

“Anyways”, a joke:

A: Anong pasta ang bumoto para kay FPJ nung 2007?

B: Ano?

A: E di, Maka-Ronnie!



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