everyone is blaming everyone else

traffic situation in EDSA-Guadalupe. image from gmanews.tv

just recently, like maybe 2 weeks, some reactions to news have been bothering me. first was the planned relocation of informal settlers along Metro Manila’s rivers and second is the proposed implementation of 4-digit number coding. they have their good points and bad but the feral reaction to these things is what bugs me the most.

first off, relocation of squatters is a good thing for everyone. poor families are evacuated from hazardous locations prone to flooding, the rest of metro manila gets better drainage, less trash, healthier environment. it looks like a win-win situation. but some disagree. enter bianca gonzalez and her tweet. and being one of the new pinoy “thinking class”, she seems to have completely understood the plight of the middle class against the free-loading poor.

and now, with the proposed MMDA coding scheme, this seems to be even more emphasized because quite a number of the people on my own twitter and facebook feeds have been complaining how “unfair” this is for car owners who have tried so hard to earn money to buy something that they can only use for 3 days in a work week. the wifey seems to agree with them saying that it is their hard-earned money and right to use their cars anyway.

i personally feel that if indeed these are the “thinking class” of the Philippines, i’d rather not be part of them. i start to feel like everything has to be about me and my own progress. it’s evolution. if you can’t keep up and adapt, you are left in the dirt to die. it’s every man for himself. reminds me of the sinking Titanic where the first class had access to the boats first before the third class. haven’t we abolished this type of discrimination already? perhaps bianca has a point when referring to ‘professional squatters’. but to question why we should let them in the boat when all they paid for is a rubber duck is heartless.

this is also the case, i think, when car owners are objecting to the new coding scheme. the sense of entitlement to what you’ve worked hard for isn’t in question. you have every right to use your property as you please, even supported by the Catechism (2403). however, the next sections (specifically 2446) quotes St. John Crysostom: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity.”  Do we think only of justice when as merely personal or do we think of justice in the bigger picture which includes every Filipino — not just those who belong to our social class?

I think that is my problem with these two issues: our sense of justice has become so personal, so self-centered, that we blame others for their own plight even when we can do something about it. maybe it’s because we don’t mingle with them hence we cannot understand them.  if i move this to an upper class vs. middle class war, you feel great animosity towards those who use their ‘wang-wang’ because they don’t experience traffic the way you do in your car. and yet, perhaps this ‘wang-wang’ user thinks that it is justified that he use these devices because it comes with his position. “kung ayaw niyo ma-traffic, magtrabaho kayo para maging VIP.” that kind of mentality.


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