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AAP President

It was a sad day less than two weeks ago when I received a text message saying that Ramy Diez had passed away. Ramy was a broadcaster by profession and a fellow car rallyist and car racer during our younger days. In the early 2000s, we both served as directors of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Ramy was quick on the road and so he won quite a few rally and racing events. He could have won more, except that he would often find himself in a ditch or with a blown head gasket somewhere along the rally route or racing circuit. Even when he recovered from those occurrences, he would have lost too much time already to even finish in those contests. He was a perfect fit for one of the sayings in rallying: “You have to first finish, to finish first”.

Think of a wild man behind the wheel and that would be Ramy. That’s how he earned the moniker, “El Bruto”, which is ironic because he was such a kind and friendly man. Anyway, he, and the rally stories about him, will always be remembered.

Ramy was also very much concerned with motoring-related issues. One that I remember very well, because he and I talked about it only last year, was the worsening traffic situation in Metro-Manila. He called me on the phone and said, “What is the solution to Metro-Manila’s traffic problem? Is there something that we can do to help?”

We tossed the problem around for maybe half an hour. The problem, after all, is a very complex one and the many solutions are just as complicated. It was apparent that we both had been involved in discussions about this issue with other groups and so our discussion led to a conclusion very quickly. We agreed on what we thought was the single, most important solution to the traffic problem … and that’s the strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulations.

It truly makes a lot of sense. Enforce the laws and right away, half of the buses along EDSA would disappear. Why? Because according to some officials, half of those buses are unregistered, meaning “colorum”. Aside from buses, other unregistered vehicles – private cars and public utility vehicles (PUVs) like jeepneys, taxicabs, etc. – would also disappear. Those left on the roads will behave properly instead of trying to outmaneuver each other, especially PUVs at the loading and unloading areas.

Enforce the traffic rules and all drivers will automatically follow order on our roads. That’s what they do when driving in the United States … and nearer home, inside Subic and Clark when these were U.S. bases. An added benefit is that there will be fewer road crashes as the roads become safer for both motorists and pedestrians.

There’s just one problem that again, Ramy and I agreed on – there’s not enough political will in the government to strictly implement the traffic laws. We ended our conversation, both very frustrated as we realized that we may, unfortunately, not see traffic improving in our lifetime.

Well, he didn’t, in his case.

Happy rallying up there, Ramy!


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