‘Hand of God’ un­tan­gles Philip­pine traf­fic chaos on ma­jor high­way dur­ing typhoon

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

An 83-year-old Catholic car­di­nal in the Philip­pines came to the res­cue of thou­sands of stranded mo­torists over the week­end af­ter sin­gle-hand­edly un­tan­gling a traf­fic jam in Manila dur­ing a typhoon.

Gau­den­cio Ros­ales took mat­ters into his own hands on Sun­day as he tra­versed a typhoon-lashed Philip­pine high­way on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal to help set­tle a traf­fic dis­pute.

“We were trapped for over an hour and we were rush­ing to another en­gage­ment. I said to my­self: ‘we can­not take this any­more,’” the re­tired Manila car­di­nal told AFP on Tues­day.

With no traf­fic po­lice­men in sight amid the on­slaught of Typhoon Goni, Ros­ales said he zipped up his rain­coat and walked nearly a kilo­me­ter to find out what was caus­ing the 1.6-kilo­me­ter long snarl, the likes of which have be­come a daily mis­ery for Filipinos.

“We’re all in a hurry,” he said to the erring mo­torists, af­ter dis­cov­er­ing six cars fight­ing over two lanes in Santo To­mas town on Manila’s out­skirts.

As his boots filled up with rain­wa­ter, the hooded old man used hand sig­nals to force the ve­hi­cles to back up, free­ing up the jam.

The rain later let up to re­veal a gi­ant cru­ci­fix peek­ing out of his jacket. The chas­tened mo­torists then got out of their ve­hi­cles to kiss his ring. “They were very apolo­getic,” Ros­ales said of the cul­prits. About 80 per­cent of the Philip­pines’ 100 mil­lion strong pop­u­la­tion are Ro­man Catholic, who are con­sid­ered among the world’s most de­vout. Last Jan­uary, six mil­lion at­tended Pope Fran­cis’ rain-soaked Manila mass.

Traf­fic jams in the Philip­pine cap­i­tal of 12 mil­lion have wors­ened in re­cent months, as the gov­ern­ment rushed to build el­e­vated toll­ways to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing num­ber of ve­hi­cles ac­quired amid a boom­ing econ­omy.

Ros­ales, who is one of the four car­di­nals in the coun­try, said he en­dured his share of hours-long traf­fic jams dur­ing his eight-year term as arch­bishop of Manila be­gin­ning in 2003.

But for as long as the grid­locks are there, Ros­ales said he would serve as a make-do traf­fic cop given the chance.

“Next time, I’ll be sure to bring a whis­tle,” he said laugh­ing.

AFP

This file photo taken on Jan. 29, 2010 shows Car­di­nal Gau­den­cio Ros­ales, Arch­bishop of Manila, front left, wav­ing with his priests as they march on the streets of Manila on their way to a sta­dium to celebrate mass at the con­clu­sion of their congress.

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