Subject: 13 Hours From Sucat To Bicutan
13 hours. Yes that's how long it took to cross the 4 km stretch from Sucat South Luzon Expressway to Bicutan Monday night when the monsoon rains caused a giant gridlock out of Metro Manila. The rains caught the city and the government flatfooted. DZRH went on special programming. So did DZBB and DZMM. You know when the government is unprepared-there are no politicians on air. Except for MMDA Chairman Prospero Oreta who simply had to say give in to all the requests of the annotator for towing trucks, the traffic brigade and the state of the raincoats and rubber boots-lines he has been saying for the pas days on radio. I heard Mayor Marquez say at 4 a.m. that it was OK to take the Santos Road to the South.
Following morning was devoted to discussion not on how to get us out of the gridlock but on whether there would be classes and offices or not! And which government office is responsible for announcing this when we haven't even gone home yet! Mayor Binay was cold about the whole situation and wouldn't even volunteer his towing trucks.
From the radio broadcast it seemed to me that the South was completely shut off from the metropolis. The coastal road, NAIA road and the SLEX were in a standstill. Traffic in the Expressway was caused by the incessant rains and flooding, the volume of vehicles building up and the buses/ trucks catching up with the light vehicles later in the evening. At SLEX, main blocks were the flooding at the Bicutan interchange, at the Motorola (which settled down early in the morning) Bicutan, Magallanes, Vito Cruz, Quirino and others not reported.
As I moved out of C5 at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and saw the snake of vehicles wanting to get into the South, I pictured their future the next 13 hours. It can be shorter if the rains stop, longer if the government doesn't wake up.