Traffic-stuck PNoy ribs MMDA chief
Stuck in traffic, President Aquino calls up his MMDA chief and teases him to man the traffic

'MAN TRAFFIC.' President Aquino teases MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to man the traffic as he got stuck in heavy traffic, causing him to arrive late in a DOST event. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – This is one motorist you don’t want to get upset. 

Even President Benigno Aquino III could not bear Metro Manila’s notorious traffic, prompting him to call up and tease Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.

Hindi inaasahan. Friday, ma-traffic. Hindi ko inaasahan, ma-traffic everywhere,” Aquino said at the start of his speech at the Department of Science and Technology Compound in Taguig on Friday, May 31. (I did not expect heavy traffic everywhere. It’s a Friday.)

The President apologized for arriving late at the inauguration of the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory, which houses state-of-the-art machines for the semiconductor and electronics manufacturing industries.

Tinawagan ko na po si Chairman Tolentino na baka gusto niyang mag-traffic at mabawasan ang abala sa ating kabuhayan,” Aquino said, drawing laughter from the crowd. (I already called Chairman Tolentino that he might want to man traffic to lessen the inconveniences in our life.)

Aquino’s complaint did not stop there.

Ngayon ko lang inakala na galing pong Malacañang, kailangang dumaan ng Roxas Boulevard para umabot ng Taguig,” he said. (I did not expect that from Malacañang, you need to pass by Roxas Boulevard to reach Taguig.)

Aquino’s idea though did not materialize as Tolentino was out of the country when he took the President’s call.

Manila traffic and the MMDA recently made news after Tolentino protested the city’s description in Dan Brown’s new book Inferno. In the book, Manila was described as the “gates of hell” with its 6-hour long traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and sex trade involving children.

Tolentino wrote Brown a letter saying the description was inaccurate.

“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis,” Tolentino said in the letter.  

“We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity,” he added. –