It's amazing what a change of administration can do. Pre-2010, one of my pet peeves on the road were wang-wangs and hagads. The previous administration and its minions abused this security privilege and made us--the motorists who pay for the roads they squeeze us out of--feel like second-class citizens. After all, what were they rushing to that they had to be escorted? More illicit deals?
Anyway, the security escorts are slowly creeping back on the streets in Pinoy ningas cogon fashion--although as far as I know no has dared activate sirens yet and they're still far more unobtrusive than before.
I'm grateful to the President who set the precedent, even though he has yet to live up to the great brown hope he promised to be. He has even gotten some flak for buying a used Porsche. Yes, I see the whole insensitivity point considering the quality of life of most of our countrymen. But if it helps him relax like he says, I'm all for it. I just hope his work output directly reflected the rejuvenation he gets from his 911.
So for some time my life as a motorist continued without the thorn of being brushed aside by "public servants." Then a new road irritant manifested. I'm talking about mobile billboards.
In traffic I see these trucks with only billboards as their cargo. I think they're a waste of road space and fuel. I know they aren't a lot, and if they're removed from the road they will only be one less drop in the ocean of cars on the streets: Traffic won't magically improve if they're gone.
But they still consume road space; valuable street real estate that could have been used by two cars or a bus. Our road network is already overburdened as it is: why else is there a vehicle reduction program that, as far as I know, doesn't exist anywhere else in the world? Have you ever driven on a green-lit traffic lane only to be the last car cut short by the yellow light? (By they way yellow means slow down, not go faster.) That's how valuable road space in Manila is.
One can't argue that they are used only during light traffic. I see them often in crawling traffic and during rush hour. And it makes sense because that’s when they're most effective.
My beef with mobile billboards certainly isn't on the scale of what I felt about wang-wangs. I just don't think their advertising medium is worth the added burden to our roads--not to mention the fuel they use. Like seeing an endorser I detest, when I see one on the road I make it a point not to patronize the product.
I should start going easy on fast-food anyway.