Davao booming but traffic-hit, too

THE bad news is, the plan on the excise-tax increase on vehicles is alive and kicking. Pushed to the hilt by several lawmakers upon the urgings of government factotums led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III; sigh, sigh.

The good news is, we still have the staunch anti-excise tax increase advocate in the Lower House, led by Marikina City Rep. Romero S. Quimbo. Quimbo and his fellow army of brave pro-people are not giving up the ghost, as yet.

“Why punish dreamers?” Quimbo said. “It is the wish of many of our countrymen, particularly those coming from the middle class, to buy their first brand-new car. After all the years of toiling hard, their dream car gets thwarted by a mere edict that simply denies a simple pleasure.”

What irks all the more is, the increased excise tax could also hurt the motoring industry, as it might unfairly disrupt production projections. This could lead to employment woes as lay-offs might ensue to cope up with increased opex (operational expenses).

It pains me to think that increasing excise taxes is one way to prevent traffic jams in the metropolis. Meaning, high vehicle taxes would result into fewer vehicles on the road as a result of would-be buyers nipping their desire to buy brand-new cars.

What a twisted logic, indeed.

That’s like saying: Impose a beer ban starting 10 p.m. so that there will be fewer drunks roaming the streets beyond 10 p.m.

The solution to that as beerhouses would swear by the six-pack?

“Beer lovers would just drink faster as the 10 p.m. curfew nears,” a beerhouse owner, who is a friend of mine for the longest time, tells me. “Thus, our sales are hardly affected.”

So that to a dreamer, I say no amount of crafted laws could kill his dream. He will always find a way to convert a wish into reality. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

In the end, the dreamer’s pocket will be unjustly ripped off by the harshness of the increased excise tax. But to him, he couldn’t care less. It is only the authors of the law who care less; they care not much to the dream of a middle-class worker merely wanting to fulfill a wish hatched way back in his teens maybe?

But what takes the cake to all this is the thesis that increasing vehicle taxes will improve the flow of traffic in the metropolis. Adopting this irrationality is forgetting altogether that to help decongest traffic is the need to implement road laws by enforcers who, sad to say, have always been remiss in their duties.

That is why I can only commiserate with Tim Orbos, the supposed traffic czar of Metro Manila. For, sorely lacking in his passion to fix traffic, seemingly, is the absence of total commitment from the 17 mayors comprising the Metro Manila area.

For example, why can’t every mayor employ barangay officials to man choke points in their localities, especially during peak hours? We always see intersections tangled up due simply to the absence of a kagawad to direct traffic.

No, the increased excise tax is a no-brainer to our traffic woes. But yes, road-law enforcers deputized and the 17 mayors’ resolve to help unchoke road snarls could tremendously decongest traffic in the metropolis.

I rest my case.

Traffic and all, Davao booming

TRAFFIC in Davao is also fast becoming as tangled as Metro Manila’s.

But in fairness, I saw a lot of road-widening projects when I was there a while back covering the 70th PAL Interclub Golf. That means the road snarls are being addressed seriously by the city’s public servants. Good.

Many streets are packed with parked vehicles. Bad. That means traffic managers there seem to be also lax in their duties. Are they copycats of their counterparts in the Big City that is Metro Manila?

Still, on the bright side of things, I could see that business is booming in Davao. As proof, two of my dearest buddies there have expanded their business operations into monumental proportions.

During the short span of time that I had been away from this beloved Durian & Pomelo & Banana Hideaway deep down south, skyscrapers have sprouted and dotted the skyline a la Shanghai. Wow! Talk about progress.

Today, each of my two buddies (Ken Angeles and Boyet Lim) has added four branches to their establishments (restaurant and car dealership, respectively). I can only be too proud of them. Over time—meaning over 20 years or so already—their friendship is as true and straight as an arrow.

If they can be that sincere and honest to me and I can swear to that by the epitaphs of my father and mother, wonder no more then why the FJ-driving Ken and Fortuner-riding Boyet have become so successful in their chosen fields of endeavors.

May your tribe increase, buddies.

PEE STOP On behalf of my fellow alleged golfers a.k.a. earth-diggers, thank you once again to Jenny Bleza and Ray Butch “Elvis” Gamboa for hosting us in their 6th STV Golf Cup recently at the beauteous Riviera-Couples in Silang, Cavite. Nice to see many of the industry’s top guns grace the occasion, including, among others, Quito & Glenda Da Roza, Gerry Aquino and Arnel Doria; BMW’s Maricar Parco and Demosthenes “Bobby” Rosales; Mitsubishi’s Froi Dytianquin and Alex Aspillera; Isuzu’s Hajime Koso, Auto Nation Group’s Bob Shaw, BYD’s Mark Tieng, SsangYong’s Dave Macasadia, BAIC’s George and Vivian Chua, Tata Motors’s Art Balmadrid and Rico Makalintal; Ilustrado’s Boni Pimentel, Lexus’s president and past president Raymond T. Rodriguez and Dan “Sir John” Isla, respectively (Ichiro Suzuki, too); BM’s Jake P. Ayson and TG’s Jeff Reyes; and, Toyota Dagupan’s ever reliable/dependable Rene So. Till next year. Cheers!