Gone in 60 minutes

CTALK By Cito Beltran

Be Careful when you “text.”

Once in a while I receive anonymous “inspirational” SMS/text messages and every now and then I courteously thank the sender and inquire who it might be. All that stopped after I discovered that my “Thank You” and “who is this pls?” message yesterday went out to at least 100 numbers/persons, some of who were not even on my contacts list and some who did not even know me or had me on their list of contacts. My only consolation is that it was not “Gone in 60 Seconds” and counting.

I actually deleted the message thinking it would end the serial texting but as it turns out, I should have kept the data so that the “forensics” people at Globe would have had an easier time piecing the puzzle. Globe Telecoms does have the capacity and storage of such information, which is how they were able to tell me that I had an “extraordinary” and unusual amount of outgoing SMS within such a short time. Deleting the message and turning “Off” the phone did not help but luckily the chain was not a worm or a hack with infinite numbers.

After reporting the matter to Globe officials, they were quite alarmed by this “new problem” and acted quickly as one would to contain a plague. What I learned is that I am not the first to experience this because an Irish lady shared how she had the same experience where her phone started doing the same thing. I have yet to find out who her carrier or service provider is. This problem may be the key, or reason behind the often heard complaint of “prepaid” subscribers who claim that their load disappears without them knowing why. If you’ve experienced or suspect having similar experiences please call your service provider because Unintended Serial Texting could hurt your wallet, get you into a fight with the service provider and cause you to kill or replace your current number. I just hope the Decepticons are not trying to give my iPhone a life and mind of its own!

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An original member of my Bible small group sent out an SOS yesterday because their neighbor’s van that is used as one of the village car pool vehicles to bring students to a Chinese Christian School was flagged down by cops and the LTFRB. After studying the “facts” I advised them to get a lawyer, get a resolution or document from their Village Homeowners Association and go to the LTFRB office regarding the P200,000 fine that is required in order to release their van from the impounding area of LTFRB.

In the mean time, the case presents a very interesting challenge to the authorities such as the LTFRB and the MMDA that have been trying to promote car-pooling on EDSA. On one hand, I applaud the LTFRB for spot checking – flagging down suspected colorum operators. They should do more of this at the SLEX and NLEX because there is more space to do so. I would also suggest that they also check and tag UV Express vans for duplicates or twin plates or registry.

On the other hand, the LTFRB and MMDA should do more to promote and organize carpooling, which I myself took part in during college. Carpooling is not for profit but to save money, reduce vehicle volume and pollution. One idea is to get Barangay officials to issue certifications or authenticate some type of formal document among participants in a carpool. I don’t know what the law dictates but that in itself would be the simplest form. But if the LTFRB and the MMDA need to get into the picture or be part of the process then they should have an online or one stop shop to facilitate things and get it done in half a day. It is the delay and red tape that really stops people from complying with the requirements.

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 “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein

A more modern version of that would be “How can the people who caused the problem actually be the solution to the problem?” Having said that, has anybody in government ever wonder why we continue to rely on the tried and ever failing system of relying on city mayors and the MMDA to solve our “Traffic Crisis” in Metro Manila? The fact is the MMDA does not have the full powers that the agency needs to implement rules and regulations on traffic. Add to that the fact that the agency is operating on approximately 1/3 of the ideal or needed manpower to manage Metro Manila. But the worst of it all is that the MMDA is subservient or at the mercy of the Metro Manila Mayors league whose individual members prioritizes the interests and concerns of their localities.

What I don’t understand is why the Office of the President persists on having the MMDA as an attached agency to the Office of the President instead of pushing for the legislative basis and program that will create a more powerful MMDA as well as pushing for the establishment of an office for the Governor of Metro Manila? All other regions have a Governor – Why not Metro Manila? Critics should stop sabotaging the legitimate need by bringing Imelda Marcos into the picture. Having a Governor for Metro Manila is a long overdue requirement so that Metro Manila can get on track with its recovery if not its resurrection. It is time that Mayors be answerable to a higher and independent authority and it cannot be the President of the Philippines because he or she is too busy running a country.

The National Capital Region must have its own Governor otherwise we will carry on being the perfect example of “ Insanity: doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.”

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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