If there was one thing I both dreaded and enjoyed during my 6-year stint as head of UP’s National Center for Transportation Studies, it is granting interviews to the media. My predecessors warned me about how some media outfits have been notorious for editing interviews to suit their needs. In certain cases, they are alleged to have spliced recordings that if taken as is would have been boring or not quite informative in order to have material that were more sensational. There are features, for example, where it seems interviewees were responding to the each other’s opinions making it look like they were arguing. And then there are those where certain statements are taken out of context when cut from a long explanation in the actual interview that took place.
I think I tried my best to be careful about what I said and how I explained or related things in my interviews. I looked at interviews as a way the Center could reach out and advance its advocacies. These were opportunities to spread the message of sustainable transport, to educate and inform officials and the public about what we should aspire and work hard towards achieving in transport and traffic. I think we had to be both progressive and aggressive with our messages because it was our duty, our responsibility not just to do research and train people but also to inform and educate people about sustainable transport. Popular mass media is an effective way to do this and we should be engaging but careful about our messages in order to be constructive and fair.
The last news interview I had before finally being relieved of being holdover Director for a month after my term ended was with GMA News. I like this interview about traffic congestion because I was able to put in some of the ideas that people in the forefront of sustainable transport have been preaching and practicing. These include the truth that in developed countries and cities, the wealthy take public transportation and that in order to improve public transportation, decision makers should themselves experience commuting.
These are not new ideas and I have to be clear that these were not my original ideas but those that I have come to embrace and advocate. I truly believe that if we don’t take public transportation, walk or cycle, we can’t really have a clear picture of what our cities need in order to solve the traffic mess and come up with services that are safe, efficient, inclusive and equitable.
The feature appearing on Jessica Soho’s State of the Nation on Channel 11 from the GMA News website.
The same report that appeared in the primetime 24 Oras: