Stressed out

The Philippine Star - - OPINION -

Rush­ing to an event of the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion in Taguig the other day, Un­der­sec­re­tary for roads Thomas Or­bos used a mo­tor­cy­cle ride-shar­ing ser­vice to ar­rive on time. Or­bos, who is also gen­eral man­ager of the Metropoli­tan Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, was pub­licly be­rated by DOTr chief Arthur Tu­gade for us­ing the ha­bal-ha­bal, a ser­vice that has been banned from the streets of the cap­i­tal re­gion.

Or­bos had to rush to Taguig from a meet­ing of the MMDA in Makati where he dis­cussed ways of eas­ing traf­fic in Metro Manila dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son. He would no doubt agree with a re­cent study that ranked Manila as the 10th most stress­ful city in the world.

There are other over­crowded mega cities so pop­u­la­tion can’t be the prin­ci­pal rea­son for stress­ful liv­ing. And there are poorer cities so the poverty level isn’t en­tirely to blame. But these two fac­tors, com­bined with other el­e­ments such as un­planned de­vel­op­ment and weak gov­er­nance, surely led to the poor ranking for Manila – or more ac­cu­rately the mega city of Metro Manila.

Bagh­dad, Iraq took the worst spot, fol­lowed by Kabul, Afghanistan; La­gos, Nige­ria; Dakar, Sene­gal; Cairo, Egypt; Tehran, Iran; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Karachi, Pak­istan, and New Delhi, In­dia. On a score of 1 to 10, with 10 be­ing the most stress­ful, Manila scored 8.92. The pa­ram­e­ters are pol­lu­tion, traf­fic lev­els, public trans­port, fi­nan­cial sta­tus of cit­i­zens in­clud­ing debt lev­els, phys­i­cal and men­tal health, per­cent­age of green spa­ces, and the hours of sun­light the city re­ceives per year.

The 10 least stress­ful cities are Stuttgart, Ger­many; Lux­em­bourg; Han­nover, Ger­many; Bern, Switzer­land; Mu­nich, Ger­many; Bordeux, France; Ed­in­burgh, UK; Syd­ney, Aus­tralia; Ham­burg, Ger­many and Graz, Aus­tria. Many of the cities that scored high in the study also rank high in stud­ies on sus­tain­abil­ity, liv­abil­ity and the hap­pi­ness in­dex.

Tu­gade, in an ex­ple­tive-laced scold­ing of Or­bos, said he would not tol­er­ate any ex­cuse for us­ing the il­le­gal ha­bal-ha­bal. The DOTr chief has a valid point. But he should also con­sider the cir­cum­stances that prompted his un­der­sec­re­tary to take the ha­bal-ha­bal. These are the same rea­sons why the mo­tor­cy­cle rideshar­ing scheme has be­come pop­u­lar.

In a mega city where traf­fic is atro­cious and mass trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties are hope­lessly in­ad­e­quate, peo­ple will take any ac­ces­si­ble, af­ford­able mode of trans­porta­tion that can skirt traf­fic grid­locks. Ar­riv­ing at one’s des­ti­na­tion on time can ease the stress of get­ting there.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.