Manila, Feb. 17, 2015 – To solve Metro Manila’s traffic problems, the government has no other way but to build more mass transport facilities considering the losses incurred in workers’ productivity and business opportunities.
This was one of the recommendations from a panel of resource persons during a Feb. 16 Tapatan sa Aristocrat forum.
Businessman Sergio Ortiz Luis, Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ honorary chairman, said he couldn’t comprehend why the government ceased constructing the much-needed Circumferential Road – 6 that would cut travel time.
The rich’s cars
“The government’s number coding failed to ease traffic because affluent people bought additional cars to avoid being carless and this caused more vehicles on the road for six days,” Ortiz Luis said.
Atty. Sonny Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers added regular employees spend most of their waking hours waiting for their regular ride to their work sites. They have to queue very early in the morning to reach their work sites on time otherwise they may be fired from work due to inefficiency.
Automobile Association of the Philippines executive director Johnny Angeles said all the traffic and transport problems are due to weak enforcement. He added should the government be serious in its campaign to ease traffic, stalled vehicles should be removed, sidewalk vendors relocated and unauthorized vehicles banned from plying the main roads.
“The roads are beyond the commerce of man so nobody ought to be allowed to park much less collect parking fees,” Angeles added.
Over at the Philippine General Hospital, Emergency Room and Trauma professor Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said most of the patients brought to their facilities are pedestrians who got sideswiped while walking along the road’s shoulders. He said they also have a number of drivers under the influence of liquor.
Former Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board chair and Land Transportation Office Assistant Secretary Alberto Suansing said most drivers fail to realize the risks they take when they drive.
Loss of productivity
“During my time at the LTO, there were only around 200 who can issue Temporary Operator’s Permit or tickets to erring drivers,” Suansing said. To his surprise, Police Sr. Supt. Sheldon Jacaban, Traffic management Group’s Deputy Director for Administration, said of their personnel spread across the country, only ten have been authorized to issue traffic citation tickets.
He also called on government to carefully study existing rules and regulations and introduce measures that would guarantee road safety.
Both the Asian Development Bank and World Bank mentioned the 2-5% reduction in GDP and productivity caused by traffic easily estimated at Php 179 million per day.
They all agreed the government needs to build mass transport facilities for the growing population as residents from various provinces have moved to identified growth centers. People are moving to growth centers such as Metro Manila looking for decent work. Mass transport is the only way to ease the plight of the Filipino working man, the panel agreed. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)