Day 8

Sir Marlon Ramos did not show up today, but he instructed me to stay in Makati with Ma’am Allison Lopez, the partner-reporter of my co-intern Rachel Miranda. Ms. Ali covers the local government of Makati and is sometimes sent by the Inquirer desk to events like inaugurations, court hearings and the like. Even if I’m under her tutelage, however, I was still assigned to cover the South Manila beat, sir Marlon’s original beat.

The day was relatively quiet, especially in my beat. Even if South Manila includes a number of cities—it is actually the largest beat in NCR—it is relatively peaceful with only minor incidents happening every now and then. It is so peaceful in fact, that for the whole day, I only wrote about an accident story which caused heavy traffic in the South Luzon Express Way.

I got a lead from the Press Information Office of Camp Bagong Diwa that a truck tipped on its side in SLEX, spilling paint and thinner and causing an eight-kilometer traffic build-up. For an inexperienced reporter like me, eight kilometers seemed a short distance, but the Philippine Star reporter who was with us said a traffic that long is already news. He brought out his NCR map and helped me trace the traffic.

The build-up was from Sucat in Paranaque City to Villamor Airbase in Pasay City—around eight kilometers, the SLEX traffic officer told me. In addition, the traffic lasted for about an hour, a truly frustrating experience for motorists who are stuck in the standstill. Luckily, no one was hurt or killed. Even the driver of the truck made it unscathed.

When I called the SLEX traffic patrol, they courteously helped me gather the information needed to make the story. There are marked differences in their interaction with media compared to the usually rough police officers in the different cities. The SLEX officer offered her help by connecting me to the right people who can give me my needed information on the traffic accident. She even patiently answered my calls even if I had to contact her several times to clarify things. How I wish other government employees were like her.

She said one of the rear tires of the truck blew up, causing it to lose control and eventually tip on its side along the express way. Its chemical cargo was spilled on the thoroughfare, snarling traffic for over an hour. With the help of the Skyway patrol, the truck was hauled and the expressway cleared of the chemicals.

While putting the story together, I am privileged to have Sir Mike of the Philippine Star to help me. He also had his own interns to train but he lent a few minutes to direct me in information gathering and in writing the news on the SLEX traffic and accident. After around an hour, I finished writing the story. I passed to Ms. Ali who edited it. She said the story’s alright. I got the essential information and she did just minor editing to make the copy more succinct and the news’ rhythm more natural.

I hope this one gets published. That’s all for today. I’ll add more tomorrow.

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