Caught (up) in traffic

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Interviews

June 2013
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I had quite a busy week last week with several meetings for a couple of projects I am doing. It became a hectic week after a major media company featured a paper I wrote last year on its 9PM new program anchored by an award-winning, popular media personality. I was quite surprised as the reporter went over key points of my paper but I am glad that he seemed to have read the paper and understood the main points. The following day, our office fielded a few calls from a major daily and two other major TV stations.

The paper was one I wrote after delivering my Professorial Chair Lecture in last year’s colloquium at our college at UP Diliman. It is something I regard as a tool to initiate discussions about the state of our transportation system. And so requests for a copy of the paper were entertained by our librarians/information managers whom I provided a digital copy of the paper that they could give to those asking for a copy of the material. Meanwhile, there were also requests for interviews including one interview for TV the day following the news report on the news channel. I am no stranger to such interviews and rather than have the reporter insistently follow-up on when he can interview me, I agreed to give the interview the same day. To be fair, I granted 2 more radio interviews yesterday (Friday) morning and another this (Saturday) morning.

Yesterday’s interview was quite special as it was on prime time AM radio with the former Vice President of the Philippines who is among the top media personalities in the country. I learned the previous day that the person mentioned my paper on his program and so was making a follow-up feature of the topic on his Friday program. That went very well as the right questions were asked and I was able to explain clearly about the loss of productivity we are experiencing in Metro Manila that colleagues first estimated in 2000. I was quite happy to say something about sustainable transport and the promote walking and cycling. More importantly, I knew that the interview would be heard by a lot of people including government officials and decision-makers, and somehow be able to send the message about sustainable transport and the need for transport infrastructure in metropolitan areas.

This morning’s gig was quite different as I was a “guest” in a radio program co-hosted by a newly re-elected Senator. I guess it was something that one could consider a virtual guesting since I was on the phone while they were in the studio of a major AM radio station. It was also a long discussion that I engaged in as I was on air for about 40 minutes and was part of a nice exchange with the hosts. It was also another productive interview as again good questions were also asked about transport problems and what was required to address them. I must admit though that I was caught a bit off-guard when they asked about “grading” the 17 cities of Metro Manila and I had to draw on some stock knowledge and experience about the cities. It was a difficult question and an awkward one given that I would always like to think that all these cities probably are giving it their best with the resources that they have in solving their problems. This last interview left me hopeful as I thought the Senator was honestly concerned about the state of traffic and transport in our cities (not just Metro Manila) and would likely include something on transport and traffic on his legislative agenda once the 16th Congress opens in July.


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