I see these poignant prayers on Twitter every now and then. “God willing it won’t be traffic [sic] on Edsa today”. I’m pretty sure such prayers are uttered at least once per 1.3 person per day by the average EDSA motorist. That translates to hundreds of thousands of such prayer said each year in beseeching the Lord to lend his divine hand in the easing of traffic decongestion along Metro Manila’s premier land artery.
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” – Matthew 18:20
You’d think there would be some results to speak of given such a promise categorically spelt out in the Holy Bible. Certainly the collective prayers of hundreds of thousands of Metro Manila motorists more than meets this simple criteria.
Such is the hopelessness in the plight of even the most well-heeled among Metro Manila residents. No amount of leather upholstery stretched across the interior of a fancy German automobile could ease the wretchedness of being stuck for two hours in an EDSA traffic jam. Traffic is the great Filipino equalizer — a beast that chomps up up to four hours of the average Manileño’s waking hours, easily. That’s four hours per day that can never be brought back. Twenty five percent of an incomprehsnsible number of sapient beings’ precious hours of lucidity wastes away on the steamy pavement of EDSA every day.
Mantakin mo yan.
Hardly surprising then that God is the default being to which such a hopeless lot turn to. And no less than the top honcho of the Philippines’ premier metropolis has reportedly done just that — though not to ease EDSA’s infernal congestion, but to make it “safer”…
Riding on one of the MMDA’s green open-top pickup trucks, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and Fr. Roderick Castro, parish priest at the Guadalupe Church in Makati, sprinkled holy water along the northbound lane of EDSA on Friday morni[n]g starting from Magallanes in Makati to Balintawak in Quezon City.
Another MMDA convoy, led by General Manager Corazon Jimenez and another priest, sprinkled holy water on the southbound lane of Edsa at the same time.
Tolentino noted that since EDSA, orginally known as Highway 54, was built in the 1940s, the road, now a backbone of Metro Manila traffic, has not been blessed entirely.
It’s a shame these bozos had not included traffic congestion in the small print of their “blessings”. Perhaps the Filipino’s Roman Catholic god is particular about credentials and would turn the bigger of his infinite ears to the mutterings of his loyal men of the cloth. Suffice to say, the millions of voices coming from despairing motorists that have slogged through EDSA over the decades certainly weren’t enough to move the Lord to apply his kind graces.
Then again the forlorn hopelessness evident in the manner with which Our Lady of Edsa stares down at the automotive cesspool that EDSA had become may have rubbed off on her son. The solution to EDSA’s mess is quite obvious. But to Filipinos who are renowned for an inherent inability to think in terms of systems and, as such, are utterly incapable of implementing systemic solutions, EDSA is just one of those things that they are content to grudgingly live with.
Contrary to popular belief, EDSA is not a monument to that “revoution” Filipinos imagine had happened on its seething pavement back in 1986. The fact is, EDSA’s more enduring role in Philippine society is as a reminder of how consistent failure had become synonymous to “the Philippines” — not much different from the ironic way the 12th of June 1898 has been marked by Filipinos as the start of their on-going celebration of an epic failure to defend their sovereignty.
Fortunately, Filipinos can rest assured that they are “blessed” in their god’s eyes. Because they say so.