Monday, November 03, 2008


I always enjoy my LRT ride from the EDSA/Taft Avenue station up until my usual destination where I always get off at Blumentritt to take a jeepney to Del Monte, Quezon City. The trip takes me to a few minutes ride back to the past whereupon I see old historic buildings of Manila like the Post Office building, the Knox United Methodist Church, the National Press Club building, the Philippine General Hospital, the Philippine Women's University, the Metropolitan Theatre, the Scottish Rite Temple, Cosmopolitan Church, Sta. Isabel College and the Philippine Normal University, to name a few. But when I took that same route today, my attention on the wonderful trip down historic lane was cut short when I noticed a sign inside the train posted by the public affairs office of the LRTA which read: "Mahigit na ipinagbabawal sa Special Boarding Area ang mga sumusunod: hindi matanda, walang kapansanan, senior citizen na hindi nakasuot ng OSCA ID, hindi buntis, mga magulang na may dalang bata na lampas sa 4ft., at hindi kawani ng LRTA." Now, the notice seemed normal to me, but I thought I'd read it again, and sure enough, the item about senior citizens wearing OSCA IDs got my undivided attention. What the LRTA here is saying is that if you are an elderly person riding the LRT and happen not be wearing your OSCA ID, or worse have forgotten to bring it with you, then you simply cannot occupy the Special Boarding Area. Since when does it take an ID to distinguish whether one is an elderly person or not? In the same way, does a pre-elementary pupil have to wear his kindergarten school ID to show he's just a small, young kid? Surely, people like LRTA Administrator Mel Robles is unaware of this silly notice, otherwise it wouldn't pass at all. Or does he? Pity the elderly who have to show OSCA IDs to prove he's - well, a senior citizen. It's enough that they are subjected to a regular punishing flight of steps to the top just to reach the ticket booths because many times, escalator and elevator services are not available for their use, not to mention the many establishments that do not honor the 20% discount required to be given for all senior citizens. If I were Mel Robles, I would offer free rides to our elderly kababayans. It's one small way of showing our appreciation and respect for them. After all, cruel and morbid as it may seem, they won't be around anymore that long to contribute to income loss on transport systems like the LRTA. In addition, Mel's boss Mike Velarde has way too much cash on hand already, and the irony of it is that many senior citizens are faithful tithers in his El Shaddai church. And to think that I'd gladly ride the LRT any day of the week contrary to my usual hesitation and bias when it comes to riding the much-neglected MRT system. And if you think that the punishment for our old-timers ends there, they have to see huge tarpaulin posters of Gloria Arroyo on the LRT stations with the misleading message: "Ramdam ang Kaunlaran."


abetski said...

What has Mike Velarde got to do with LRTA?

LCB said...


Mike Velarde has everything to do with Mel Robles' appointment in the LRTA. Mel was Mike's El Shaddai spokesman, and lobbied for Mel's top job in the LRTA. Cheers!