BELOW THE LINE
By JOSE ABETO ZAIDE
This year’s Todos los Santos traffic should have been much lighter. Many had the foresight to pay their respects to their dearly departed the previous weekend to take advantage of the four-day holidays (November 1-4, from Thursday to Sunday). .
TRAFFIC PROCESSION. And yet despite typhoon Rosita, there was a long queue on November 1. Dr. Arcadio Santos Avenue (Sucat Road), has two focal points for the Filipino traditional visit for “Undas” – Loyola Memorial Park and the Manila Memorial Park. As usual, traffic knotted another 10 to 20 minutes at the Skyway exit, and double the usual time it took to get out of SLEX.
REASON? Sucat Road was designed for six lanes (three lanes in either direction). But the artery chokes near the SLEX ingress/egress because a concessionaire, Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corporation, preempted two lanes of this major artery – one for the entry and the other for the exit for Skyway motorists.
BEST LAID PLANS GANG AFT AGLEY. The original plan was for separate ingress and egress points for the Skyway: Northbound vehicles for Manila would cross over to the East side and take the ramp leading to Skyway; West-bound motorists would descend and exit at Sucat Road. (Real estate along both sides of Sucat had been purchased for the ramps that would have been constructed.) But someone came up with the cheese-paring idea of saving the skyway franchisee the expense of purchasing real estate on opposite ends and halved the infrastructure cost of two ramps by building both the entry and exit ramps together and positioning the structure smack in the middle of Sucat Road.
(BTW, in the original plan, motorists from all subdivisions along West Service road taking the skyway needed only to turn right to access the Skyway. With the improvised system, they all have to turn left, drive farther two blocks, then U-turn to enter the Skyway.)
The improvisation was great savings for the Skyway operators, but a Calvary for motorists. Why must corporate penny-pinching burden the public?
Can’t complain if this happens only on All Soul’s Day. But this chock-a-block challenge affects us all year round on peak hours. Sucat chokes and the motoring traffic swells in all directions. A franchise entails social obligation, not a license for exploitation. Why does DPWH and our Toll Regulatory Board allow this? How do they get away with this ghoulish solution?
PENNY ANTE. There is a small two-way artery which forks off close to the end of West Service Road just before Sucat. It was built by former Paranaque Mayor Dr. Pablo Olivarez for motorists as an escape route short-cut to get to the Skyway or onward Sucat Road. But because succeeding Mayors Joey Marquez and Florencio Bernabe Jr. neglected this, the bypass fell into disuse as tawdry shops took over the sidewalks and vehicles parked and blocked the road.
Perhaps someone should remind the son, the incumbent Mayor Edwin Olivarez, of his father’s solution. It is as consequential as the Kabihasnan bypass which former Mayor Pablo Olivarez also created to access to Roxas Boulevard.
BRIGHT LIGHTS. This Saturday night is the golliest night of the week. Dr Evangeline Handog hosts her swan song after four years as president of Philippine Dermatological Society. The Hats Off affair on 10 November is Dinner, Dance, and Art Auction at the ballroom of the Belvedere Hotel at Alabang, Muntinlupa. Come with partner, or come alone, There are DIs for him and for her. P2,500 per head, all proceeds go to ISD mentorship program.
This Mad Hatter evening has a prize for the one who sports the best hat. In lieu of a farewell speech, Vangie Handog has rehearsed a pas de deux with her dance instructor.
On Sunday, 11 November, pace setter on the ramp Mellie Ablaza, honorary consul of Guatemala, celebrates her 78th anniversary at the Amelia Estate at Alfonso, Cavite. She will appear as Empress Dowager to welcome friends and well wishers from the diplomatic and consular corps. Husband Louie Ablaza, in real life Honorary Consul of Tanzania, has yet to reveal his title and attire suitable to escort the Empress Dowager.
The event begins with a 10 a.m. mass. Guests come in their best Chinese attire, cheongsam or Mao suit or whatever imagination bids for the grand prize.
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