There were questions about a question.
One, when a Miss World Philippines finalist was asked what “silver lining” she finds in the country’s perennial traffic congestion in the metro during the question-and-answer portion for the Top 11.
Paula Ortega of Albay was asked the following:
“How would you console the Filipino commuting public especially those in Metro Manila, that there’s a silver lining to traffic problems?”
Her response was:
“I think we should address our traffic problems by using more sustainable transportation. I think it’s about time that Filipinos are aware of how the climate change is really present right now. COVID-19 really happened because of climate change and we should start working all together to embrace our home, because if we don’t build things by using public transportation, by using alternative energy, we are making a better place for our future, thank you so much.”
The question caught social media’s attention and prompted reactions to its framing.
“WALANG SILVER LINING SA TRAFFIC PROBLEMS. TAMA NA TAYO SA PAGRO-ROMANTICIZE NG PROBLEMA,” a Twitter user said in response to the question.
“She should’ve just countered the question no? Pero baka for the sake of winning parang nag-agree na lang na may silver lining sa traffic problems when in fact, wala naman,” another online user said with a grinning-face-with-sweat emoji.
“It’s [an] indisputable truth that our traffic and commuting problems are hell in this country so I don’t get what ‘silver lining’ this question is driving at,” wrote a different Filipino.
A “silver lining” refers to “a consoling or hopeful prospect.”
Just last week, photos and videos of long lines for buses and stations at the Metro Rail Transit circulated on social media.
Some Filipinos called for a magna carta for commuters and pedestrians following the situation.
The idea was to lessen the volume of traffic during rush hours for Metro Manila-based government offices.
Massive losses due to traffic
A 2014 report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that the country was projected to lose P3.5 billion of economic opportunities daily due to traffic congestion in the capital region.
Without new transportation infrastructure, the economic loss can rise to P5.4 billion daily by 2035, according to the JICA chief representative to the Philippines.
JICA suggested that the government invest in more projects that will ease congestion and improve connectivity in and out of the metropolis.
Last year, it was reported that Manila was the 18th most congested city in the world, according to the TomTom Traffic Index.
The city had an average congestion level of 43%, which meant that travel times were 43% longer than during the baseline non-congested conditions.
Manila is also ranked as the sixth most congested city in Asia.