Caught (up) in traffic

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What irritates you?

March 2011


Early this week, we realized that only one of the regular hosts of our weekly radio program, Wangwang ng Bayan, would be available for the live broadcast. Being the last week of regular classes didn’t help as we had to consider conflicting schedules that seemed to feature a lot of double and even triple booking of certain time slots. Wednesday proved to be a difficult day what with a mix including undergraduate research presentations, a college board meeting, field survey orientations and our radio program. Good thing that it didn’t become the nightmare we were anticipating as we were able to agree on how to divide ourselves and distribute our times and attentions to the various tasks at hand that day. I won’t delve into the details of what we did with the others but will just talk about how we were able to manage with our radio program.

We figured that we had to have a topic that would be easy for one host and our assistant to tackle while the other host and the producer were out. I figured that an easy topic would be about what irritates us when we’re on the road whether as drivers/motorists, passengers or pedestrians. We would ask our listeners to pitch in on what they thought were their pet peeves on transport and traffic. The result was a very lively show with the host and her assistant fielding questions and comments on just about anything under the sun and on the street.

Prior to the show, we ran a simple survey among our center’s staff, some students and our trainees in our Traffic Administration Course. The survey outcomes allowed us to have a handle on what we can anticipate for responses to the question we would be posing on air. After all, there should be common pet peeves regardless of whether one is driving, riding, walking or cycling. I even volunteered my own top ten list of what irritates me when I’m on the road. These are:

1. Jaywalking/pedestrians crossing anywhere;

2. PUB or PUJ weaving at high speeds in traffic;

3. PUV’s loading/unloading in the middle of the road;

4. Vehicles especially private cars cutting into my lane;

5. Road signs featuring politicians’ names prominently;
6. Vehicles on opposing lane of undivided traffic using high beam (bright);
7. Vehicles with no license plates;
8. Vehicles using tinted license plate covers;
9. Smoke belching vehicles; and
10. Overloaded trucks

I can go on and identify more pet peeves but it is unnecessary and the top ten pretty much drives the point in as far as irritating things are concerned. When coming up with the list, I eventually felt a little frustration as I came to realize that many of these pet peeves have not been addressed despite many being glaring examples of how chaotic traffic and transport can be in this country. What irritates us the most is the collective chaos we experience everyday, and what seems to be our helplessness and the futility of authorities in addressing these manifestations of an inadequate transportation system.

But there is hope considering that my and other people’s list seem to have lost an entry – wangwangs, or the illegal/improper use of sirens. The success of a campaign enforcing against wangwangs last year showed many of us how it can be done and done right. Perhaps, as I’ve suggested in previous posts, the strategy could be to tackle these irritations one at a time. No MacArthur didn’t return to the Philippines direct from Australia. He liberated lands one island at a time, slowly but surely. Perhaps that should be the approach for us to eventually reduce the list until there are none at all that irritates us. And what a country we would be when we finally realize that progress requires discipline and a bit of soul searching that starts with simple questions like “what irritates you?”


Wangwang ng Bayan can be heard on AM radio. Just tune in to DZUP 1602, the last station on the dial. Livestreaming available over at

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