If our government officials can pry their attention away from the political circus involving the President and the Supreme Court, they will notice that the problem of pollution seems to have worsened over the past few years. This pollution is responsible for many a respiratory or allergenic problem, and endangers the health of Filipinos living in the metropolis, if not the entire country.
Despite this, the officials in charge of motor vehicles and traffic, the LTO, the LTFRB, and the MMDA, as well as local government officials seem oblivious or indifferent to the problem. Everyday, as I make my way to work, it is not uncommon to see buses, jeepneys, and private vehicles spewing black smoke, obscuring one's driving view, and adding to the already suffocating smog that pervades the city. These vehicles often pass by traffic enforcers, both from the MMDA and local government, yet these enforcers do nothing to apprehend these polluting violators.
It used to be, once in a while, the government would come out in force against smoke belchers, the same way the MMDA does now against speeders and motorcyclists along Commonwealth Ave., only to be struck by the malady of ningas kugon, and disappear after a few days. Now, these anti-smoke belching drives are no longer seen.
The proliferation of smoke belchers is strange, considering that, in order to register a vehicle, one has to be able to submit emission test results. It implies that perhaps unscrupulous vehicle owners are taking short cuts in order to bypass the emission tests.
Once more, the crooked road makes itself known. Here's hoping that our government officials would wake up and crack down on these offenders. However, I'm holding my breath in the meantime.
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On another note, I'm wondering what has happened to the crackdown on erring buses. After around two or three bus companies' franchises were either suspended or canceled in the wake of the wildcat strike they held last year, the LTO seems to have slacked off on its slapping of sanctions. At the same time, at least along Commonwealth Ave., there's a wealth of violations committed by buses on a daily basis: smoke belching, speeding, letting off passengers in the middle of the road, and so on.
It appears that bus companies, its owners and its drivers, have learned nothing from the past, and are blatantly thumbing their noses at the government. It makes me wonder how much the owners have had to shell out in order to avoid prosecution. I can only wish that the government and the media would pay more attention to issues outside of the political realm, and pay attention to issues that directly affect the public.