• No traffic czar needed

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    LAST week, Malacañang rejected the suggestion, first made by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), that a “traffic czar” be appointed to oversee an effort to solve the problem of gridlock around Metro Manila. Instead, explained presidential spokesman Sonny Coloma, the crisis could be better addressed by “inter-agency cooperation.”

    We do not often agree with the policy decisions made by this administration, but we do agree with this one, although perhaps not for quite the same reason as Mr. Coloma suggested. A “traffic czar” would not help resolve the traffic mess, which has gone from being a problem to a catastrophe.

    For one thing, the Aquino administration has a poor performance record when it comes to “czars.” Former Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, appointed by President BS Aquino 3rd as “Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization” – in effect, a shadow to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala – has not had any discernible positive impact on the sector. Former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was similarly appointed “czar” over the Typhoon Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation effort, and achieved similar results, although to be fair to Lacson, he was well aware of the outcome and publicly expressed frustration at not being given the tools and authority to do more than to write a long report. Former Energy Secretary and current “Cabinet Secretary” (a position that only seems to exist to allow the man to continue to draw a paycheck, and to allow the President to avoid calling Cabinet meetings with any sort of productive regularity) Rene Almendras has also filled a “czar” role, heading up a “task force” to address the problem of port congestion last year – a problem that largely worked itself out through the cooperation of the port operators, trucking firms, the Bureau of Customs, and the city government of Manila.

    Secretary Almendras, in fact, was the name put forth by MAP as a candidate for “traffic czar,” for reasons that are not entirely clear but are irrelevant now that the administration has thumbed down the suggestion in favor of raising expectations that the concerned agencies simply do their jobs for a change. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Department of Public Works and Highways collectively represent a powerful toolbox to deal with the gridlock crisis, and have reams of regulations at their disposal to effectively do so.

    That they have been unable to make any headway so far is not due to the absence of a “czar,” but simply a matter of poor management performance: If the leadership of this alphabet soup of agencies is incapable of coordinating with other offices and maintaining consistent enforcement and follow-up to existing rules and regulations without being told to do so, the solution is to directly address those shortcomings – not to add another layer of bureaucracy to the existing problem at additional taxpayer expense.

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    10 Comments

    1. No Czar needed. Just put Edsa one way going South Balintawak to Makati from 5 – 9 am & C5 going North. In the afternoon from 5 – 9 pm the other way around. problem solve.

    2. Ricardo R. Pasco on

      Old city ang karamihan sa metro manila at lumulubog pa. Ang mga kalsada natin ay makikitid lalo na sa kamaynilaan dahil ang mga unang kalsada ay pang-karetela lang halos dahil ang mga kalsadang ito ay panahon pa ng kastila at early American era so traffic na. Hindi properly zoned ang development ng metro manila dahil mga old city nga. Ang metro manila ay nadisenyo na parang isang malaking palengke dahil kakaunti ang mga tulay therefore kakaunti din ang major roads. Lahat halos ay dadaan sa kakaunting major roads na ito at dito magsusulputan ang mga paninda or stores (palengke) therefore traffic na. Un ibang area naman ay parang kastilyo na iisa lang ang puwedeng daanan (incoming and outgoing) at may dagat o moat o ilog na nakapaligid at WALANG TULAY therefore traffic na. Unlike perhaps Jakarta and Singapore which is more properly zoned dahil later na lang sila nagdevelop ng mga city nila.

      Looking at the top, assume that metro manila is still raw and undevelop. How will its development be (i.e. where to put the roads, bridges, buildings, warehouses, business districts, schools, malls, churches, factories, etc.)? This ideal properly zoned development may not be practicable now because of the very huge costs involved but at least this can serve as the model and we can make the most out of it like:

      Laparan ang mga kalsada. Dagdagan ng tulay ang mga kalsada natin. Ang tulay ay kalsada rin at kapag walang karugtong na tulay ang isang kalsada o iisa lang ang nagagamit na tulay like Guadalupe Bridge-Makati ay aapaw talaga ang traffic. Parang drainage din yan na kapag lahat ng drainage pipe (mga Kalsada) ay dumadaloy o tumutuloy sa iisang drainage pipe (Guadalupe Bridge) ay aapaw ang tubig (vehicle traffic). Some postcards abroad especially London shows roads have its own connected bridges so hindi putol ang kalsada.
      Water seeks its own level at ang mga sasakyan ay makakasuot yan saan mang sulok kung may tulay silang madadaanan so hindi maiipon sa iisang kalsada like EDSA and mga sasakyan. It is being said that C-5 can really lessen the traffic especially in EDSA. It is true and we can make a lot of C-5s’ in the metropolis by building bridges (tulay) from north to south, east to west of Metro Manila. Kung magagawa ang mga tulay na ito ay makakasuot sa lahat ng lansangan ang mga sasakyan dahil may tulay na. Kung maraming sasakyan ang dadaan sa (hindi masyadong commercial na) kalsada dahil may tulay, ay tataas ang real estate tax dito at mare-recover din ang gastos sa pagpapagawa ng tulay. So mababawi din ang magagastos sa pagpapagawa ng tulay.

      Also, yung mga pollutant Business Offices, factories and warehouses should be strictly regulated and relocated outside metro manila and away from residential areas (proper zoning). The metro area is saturated with Central Business Districts, schools at malls and they have to control the inflow and outflow of vehicles to such that there will be a smooth flow of incoming and outgoing vehicles (minimum of 20kph) with the objective of avoiding vehicle build up in and around it’s vicinity. In short, magsimula na tayong magdevelop ng ibang metropolis upang properly zoned at hindi bahain.

    3. time and again I will say, putting someone on that position will not change anything;it will just be another one to pad his pockets. the 14 cities comprising the MM has their own agenda and all are making money and political patronage by employing traffic enforcers on their turf. the only way is eliminate those cotong enforcers and police from the streets by contracting someone to install TRAFFIC CAMERAS on the streets of MM AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, and they administer the sending of notice to offenders who will pay the fine to the bank. the fines will cover for the ROI of the contractor and the rest shared with the government….this is a fool proof solution which no LGU will like as well as those who are making a money out of this mess.

    4. The solution is quite simple as I had said it again and again but nobody will want it as they will lose billions of kotong. from the MMDA, DOTC,LTFRB and LTO. It is open secret that PUB;PUJ and taxi operators have tong pats to the agencies as well as to the street boys which then include the city mayors.
      The solution is get a foreign contractor to install traffic cameras at their expense all over the city and the fines for violations will be split between them and the government .I am very sure traffic will be managed because there will be no excuses and no human hands on apprehensions. this is done in a lot of big cities all over the world. offenders pay to the bank directly or else they pay interest when they register their vehicles.

    5. vagoneto rieles on

      That the solutions to the traffic problem, thus far, have never been ‘solutions’ at all, seems to be the ‘real problem’. Neither the ‘truck ban’, the ‘odd-even tags’, the ‘dedicated lanes’, nor the ‘HPG-enforcement’.. have been solutions; they were just palliatives applied to assuage the symptoms, and were never serious attempts to cure the problem. What’s worse is that the traffic mess, unsolved as it were, just grew into the frustratingly knotty tangle that it is today.The real solution.. the only cure to the long running traffic nightmare.. is ‘political will’. It is the 800# gorilla visibly sitting in the room.
      It will serve no purpose at all to go through a litany of ‘what-might-have-beens’. The facts are still the same; ie.. the ribbon of streets are not about to grow; the inflow of squatters, (I forget the euphemism) continue unabated; more buses, cars and trucks are added incrementally; large office buildings, super-stores and markets are still being built in and around the core; and, the public are as selfish, inconsiderate and as unruly as ever.. and are becoming more so. Further.. none of the past and present Mayors, MMDA Chairs, or Presidents.. have had the nerve, fortitude.. and the political will to confront the problem honestly and squarely. Neither the ‘Police General’ ex-Mayor, nor the sitting ‘Tough-Guy’ Mayor of Manila.. or any of the present crop of Mayors of the ‘Satellite Cities’ around Manila.. have the time nor the inclination to do so. They seem to be afraid of displeasing certain sectors of the public; and, appear to be averse to collectively agree to one, or any mutually acceptable solution to the chaotic and harmful mess. Even as this malaise is plaguing their constituents and, indeed, the country, they are, all, still on ”politics and showbiz mode”.
      Seriously, I doubt that deliverance is on the way any time soon.

    6. Big cities like London, New York, and Tokyo, although there are traffic jams but not as worst as Metro Manila, what is the difference, effective mass transportation and route is run by timetables..!

    7. The DoTC together with its agencies LTO and LTFRB, the DPWH, the DILG with the PNP, and the MMDA are like members of an orchestra. You need a CONDUCTOR for them to play Good Music. Otherwise, they will play discordant notes and the orchestra will be out of tune. A Traffic Management CZAR is needed More Than Ever. The THREE Es of Traffic: Education, Enforcement & Engineering. They have to be SYNCHRONIZED.

    8. It is a way out for Chairman Tolentino, who is gunning for a higher seat in the government. It is harder to blame an organization, the HPG. ‘No traffic czar needed.’

    9. Implementation of traffic rules and regulations is needed. Fire mr Tolentino and appoint retired general Romeo Maganto for the job.

    10. Catalino Garcia on

      Fire that Tolentino. Get rid of Abaya. Ask Roxas why? They had 5 years to solve it but traffic is still a mess.