MANILA - The plan of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to have traffic enforcers wear adult diapers while on duty for the feast of the Black Nazarene became the butt of jokes and was bombarded with criticism Thursday.
MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino earlier explained the need for such a measure as traffic enforcers will have to endure longer working hours and may need to relieve themselves while on duty. He added that the portalets made available for the event will be best left to the devotees.
The MMDA was reported to have already spent P120,000 for the implementation of the plan.
Television anchor Ted Failon, on his radio commentary program "Failon Ngayon," questioned whether Tolentino thought the plan through before spending the sum mentioned. He added that the budget could have gone to renting more portalets.
Failon also dared the agency's chief to try and wear an adult diaper for 8 hours straight before forcing his traffic enforcers, who expressed support for the plan, to do the same.
The plan also drew flak from radio hosts Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja. The two, which host the radio program "Dos Por Dos," pointed out several concerns regarding the issue.
It primarily centered on questions about whether it is hygienic to have traffic enforcers wear adult diapers for the duration of their shift.
Meanwhile, British website The Guardian, on Thursday, published an article on the issue, focusing on the supposed plan to also implement the measure for the scheduled papal visit scheduled from January 15 to 19.
The article, titled "Philippine traffic officers to wear adult diapers during papal visit," drew snark and snide from the website's commentary section.
One user wrote: "This is very nearly funny; the thought of hundreds of policemen wetting their pants would, indeed, be side-splitting, were it not for the gross infringement of their human rights it represents."
Another one quipped: "Surely the Almighty can override human biology in this instance, and ensure none of the assistants or pilgrims feel the need to go?"
The MMDA has since issued a statement defended the decision, saying that adult diapers have been used in major historical events.
"It is understandable that the idea may seem ridiculous to a few or maybe a majority, at first glance. But we need to look at it in its proper perspective, which is its practicality, considering the limited number of portalets in tomorrow’s event. The benefits outweigh the negative notion," MMDA Assistant General Manager for Operations Emerson Carlos said.