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An open letter to Christopher Lao

Dear Chris

You were never my student in Environmental Science 1 but some of your classmates from Malcolm Hall were. One of them told me the tale of the floating car before I saw it plastered on Facebook! But despite you being taken for a fool, I don't think you really are! You were just one exasperated taxpayer!

As I have written earlier, Metro Manila is an extremely dangerous urban environment where the mere act of using the streets as a pedestrian or as a motorist (as you have found out to your humiliation by an unkind Pinoy social networking community) can kill!

Example: At one flooded street in Manila, several people were reported to have been electrocuted when they held on to a fancy lamp post for support during a flood. It appeared that the lamp post had no insulation that makes them "all weather"!

I heard you are about to take the Bar and some of my lawyer friends hope that you will pass so that ALL will be informed (the networks included). But more than that I hope you TOP the Bar, be a good lawyer with the following legal advocacy.

We learned in our Environmental Science 1 class that there are so many laws and ordinances passed that suppose to make sure people are safe on the streets. Now we have seen those diggings of utility companies that wrecked streets and may cause your car to ruin its suspension. People have been known to have fallen into these "holes" and ditches. Even at UP, one non academic staff employee fell into one and she had a minor fracture and was treated at our famous, beloved and butt of jokes "Infirmary". I think the utility company is liable and so is UP. While the employee did not press charges, the fact is there was no sign that informed all of the "DANGER"! Now did those utility companies who subcontracted the work ever inform the residents of these neighbourhoods that their streets would be trashed? Now they do have signs saying "restoration. Restoration my butt! It is like the Japanese praying that another tsunami restores the town of Otsuchi in Japan to its former and picture postcard state!

On our streets we wish the disabled dead! Disabled access with that trademark wheelchair sign leads often into ditches and manholes! I'm pretty sure you know we have laws protecting the disabled!

Perhaps you can take all these groups who take our safety for granted to court!

You have been the victim of the Filipino's penchant for taking these matters not seriously. But you may have the last laugh. Karma will play its part and one or a carload of wags who ridiculed you will fall into deep water because they were not informed. Then I hope you agree to provide them legal services!

The "floating car" is not a joke.


Prof. Ben Vallejo


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