Thursday, August 4, 2016

An Open Letter to a Socialist President

DEAR President Rodrigo Duterte:

Sir, for describing yourself as a Socialist I already salute you. Not many in our country have a proper appreciation of the word/concept “socialist”; most equate it with being a “revolutionary communist,” even as armed revolutionary communists regard mere socialists as lame while the socialists regard the armed revolutionary communists as party fascists. I salute you for the boldness in your unabashed self-tagging using that word, Mr. President, the same way that I continue to salute Ninoy Aquino for calling himself a Christian Socialist during that time when “confessing” to being a socialist was equal to confessing one had leprosy.
Pero ito lang, Mr. President. For almost a week now the UV Express-using commuting working class has been made to suffer by a memo made by your LTFRB chair appointee, Martin Delgra, care of a legalist rationale. The memo banned UV Express vans from using the length of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue immediately after its release. The objective of the memo? To relax the heavy traffic along EdlSA—as if the UV Express vans ply the entire length of EdlSA and number in the thousands. Mr. President, who are profiting from this memo? There are the bus lines, of course, who now have to carry the UVE passengers from the provinces dropped off by their UVEs at an EdlSA or near-EdlSA corner 200 meters away from their connecting MRT stations. (Some would take the bus for such a relatively short distance to avoid perspiring on their office clothes in a 200 meter walk). And right now, colorum vans (even cars) have cropped up along the highway in question to exploit the shortage of a faster alternative to the slow buses and the cramped MRT (the faster alternative, the UV Express with licenses, are now missing). These colorums don’t have to pick up passengers at UVE terminals, and their passengers don’t have to walk 200 meters to get to them.
In short, Mr. President, the objective of the memo is not at all accomplished by its targeting the UV Express as a culprit, especially since the number one and number two culprits for the heavy traffic along EdlSA are the staggering number of private vehicles and buses plying the route, as well as the taxis and gentrified Ubers and Grabs.
Mr. President, the legalist rationale used by Atty. Delgra has not only resulted in working class commuters’ equating their current suffering (at the heavier traffic now traversed by the UVEs and at their having to walk 200 meters to their connecting MRT train stations) to what they’ve suffered in the long MRT queues from the start of DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya’s secretaryship in the Noynoy Aquino government. And they now equate Atty. Delgra’s use of the law with the Aquino government’s use of the law in relation to laglag-bala victims (which, you'll remember, victimized the victims twice and supported the extortionists).
Therefore, Mr. President, Atty. Delgra’s seeming insensitivity to the working class commuters’ suffering, a suffering produced immediately after his memo’s diktat, does not seem to reflect your Socialist sensibility. In fact, it seems to negate it, defy it, and defame it.
I have no connection with any UV Express operator, Mr. President. I merely have relatives and friends who belong to the UV Express-using working class who have suffered enough, Mr. President. And—like you—I too have claims to a Socialist sensibility.
And speaking of Socialist sensibilities, Mr. President, I would not be surprised if—by your Socialism—you were to nationalize the EdlSA bus route, Mr. President, as well as limit the number of private vehicles using the highway during the rush hours, instead of continue to allow Atty. Delgra to sacrifice one mode of public transport (some of which have ceased to invest in trips) in favor of another public transport (the buses, and the new colorum vans and cars along this route) in order to indulge his mysterious understanding of EdlSA traffic.
Mr. President, I believe that if there is one leadership that can stop the long-standing Filipino culture of favoring the private vehicle over the public transport vehicle, the favor for the vehicle over the pedestrian, as well as a ludicrous favor for a public transport over another public transport, it is your Socialist presidency, Mr. President.
The working class commuters of our republic have suffered enough, sir. That is why we rely on your socialist awareness and here hope and pray that Atty. Delgra will imbibe the same amount of empathy for such suffering that you have used to express yourself through this past year, Mr. President.
We thank you in advance,

Respectfully and humbly yours,

Jojo Soria de Veyra

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