Roamer's Roundup

A “Missing Hands” Postscript, Underpass Blues, Etc.

So much has been going on this month that even I couldn’t keep up. Nevertheless,we try to keep tabs of what went on in this edition of the Roamer’s Roundup, including an update on that controversial Bench ad and the work on the planned Gil Puyat Underpass in Makati.


After so much confusion and creativity that came with those “missing hands” of Vince Uy and Nino Gaddi in the Bench billboard along EDSA near the north bank of the Pasig River, Bench came up with a statement which “clarified” the matter.

In the statement, Bench clarified that the blacked out hands was not an act of defacement but it was originally intended to be plastered as such when it was submitted to the Ad Standards Council for approval. And what about the unobstructed view of the hands that was seen before, including here in this site? Bench said it was a digital mockup of the billboards they intended to distribute for publicity and was not supposed to be how the billboards will look once they were posted. You know, a case of “image may not reflect the actual look of the product” kind of thing, except that Bench did not say that even as a disclaimer.

the controversial billboard (courtesy of Vince Uy’s Instagram)

While Bench deserves to be lauded for its support of equal rights, especially for the LGBT community, this particular episode raises concerns that Bench intended to deceive and stir controversy to push its views, or, more so as some critics allege, its products. There is a fine line between doing it for an advocacy and doing it for publicity. Bench knows this all too well and they have somehow gotten some mastery in it. Still, it cannot be avoided that Bench’s actions may have left a bad taste in some people’s mouths, especially those who are supportive of LGBT rights.

There are plans to have the billboard replaced with the original, untouched one that shows the hands back on display.


Months after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) gave the greenlight, the work on the proposed underpass along Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati will finally commence in April.

the Puyat underpass project (courtesy of TopGear)

This project aims to alleviate the traffic situation in that part of the city, particularly the area of the thoroughfare that intersects with Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas, which are known bottlenecks especially during weekdays. For the meantime though, starting April, motorists and commuters would have to bear with a bit worse traffic situation there as construction is expected to go full swing.

We can only hope that this inconvenience that will be experienced in the coming months will be made worth it by a long-term benefit for motorists and commuters plying this stretch of road.


Lastly, NEDA has recently approved 6 new infrastructure projects which we hope to see realized in the future…as long as we have no incompetent guy running the Department of Transportation and Communication. *cough*Jun (P)Abaya*cough*

Of particular interest to Metro Manila are two major railroad projects, which hopefully gives the long-overlooked railroad network in the metropolis and the greater Luzon area the needed improvement. One of them is the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project Phase I, which involves the construction of a 36.7-kilometer elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban to ply the old Manila Railroad Service that went all the way to Dagupan. In a way, this serves as the successor to the now-abandoned Northrail project that got shafted due to politics and corruption allegations. It is envisioned that this would be stretched up north to La Union with another branch going all the way up to Cagayan.

There is also the North-South Railway Project–South Line, which aims to upgrade the commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba, Laguna, as well as a long haul railway operation between Tutuban and Legaspi, Albay, an on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas, and an extension between Legaspi and Matnog, Sorsogon.

On the road network side, NEDA has also approved the NLEX-SLEX Connector Project which aims to connect NLEX and SLEX using an elevated road network that will use the right of way of the commuter railway. This is not to be confused with the currently ongoing Skyway project and this has also been touched upon here previously.

With the announcements out of the way, we now go to the “exciting” part of how long any of these projects will stay in limbo before work begins, assuming they would be built at all.

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