To ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, Civil Service Commission Chair Francisco Duque adopted a four-day workweek for government employees wherein government agencies are directed to arrange a working schedule for their employees to work from Monday to Thursday or from Tuesday to Friday with working hours per day increased from 8 hours to 10 hours so that the total number of work hours per week remain at 40 hours.
While I support the suggested four-day workweek and the increase in working hours per day, there appears no visible or immediate impact on how traffic would be reduced if the working schedule is left to the discretion of the employees. I would, therefore, reiterate my four-day workweek proposal which I have been suggesting since 1997.
In my proposal which I suggested to be tested in Metro Manila for government employees, the four-day workweek will be implemented in such a way that there will be a one-day work-day-off per week on a staggered or alternate basis in the various cities in Metro Manila. For instance, there will be no work in Quezon City, Las Pinas City and Manila on Mondays; Pasay City, Taguig City and Caloocan City will have no work on Tuesdays; Mandaluyong City, Muntinglupa City and Paranaque City on Wednesdays; San Juan City, Pasig City and Makati City on Thursdays, and Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and Pateros on Fridays. The combination of the cities or areas in the alternating arrangement of one-day work-day-off per week will depend on the number of population or traffic condition therein as may be determined and recommended by the Metro Manila Development Authority.
A good example of the effect of an staggered one-day work-day-off per week is when Manila and San Juan City celebrate Manila day and Feast of St. John the Baptist, respectively, in June 24 where light traffic is experienced because of the holidays in these two big cities.
The staggered system of giving one-day work-day-off per week will certainly ease the traffic situation in Metro Manila considering the substantial number of private vehicles that will not be used during this one-day-work-day-off which will ultimately result in saving gas and fuel. This will also allow our jeepney and bus drivers to double or triple their daily trips thereby increasing their daily income. Employees will save a lot from a day’s day-off in terms of transportation expenses, food and clothing.
To compensate for the eight hour loss from the one-day work day-off, the working hours of the offices, agencies or companies that will participate in this proposal may be adjusted accordingly to comply with the 40-hour work a week requirement. They may work from 7am to 12noon and 1pm to 6pm for four days which is also forty hours a week. At any rate, it is very common that most employees stay late in the office even after office hours or come to work very early in the morning to avoid the traffic in going to and from their respective offices. A little sacrifice from all concerned people and offices is not too much to ask at this time when everybody is called upon to cooperate for the greater welfare of the public.
This proposal may also be adopted by private entities that may be similarly minded to join the government in its effort to solve this traffic problem and save energy. Educational institutions may also be encouraged to support this proposal by making appropriate adjustments to the class schedules of their students and faculty members. This may not, however, cover government agencies at the “frontline” of public service like those involved in health, social welfare, labor and the like.
If this proposal would prove to be successful in Metro Manila, then it could be adopted in other metro cities, like Cebu, Davao and the like. For sure, there will be bigger savings that could be generated on this staggered one-day-day-off system with four-day work per week.
ATTY. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL
Las Pinas City