• Noynoying on traffic problem

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    THE trust and approval of Filipinos for President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd dropped significantly in the March 2015 Ulat ng Bayan survey results of Pulse Asia.

    Critics have pointed to the disastrous Mamasapano operation as the main culprit for the plunge.

    But a motorist or everyday commuter who happens to have been interviewed by a Pulse Asia pollster during that survey period would probably not approve of the President’s lack of political will to solve the horrendous traffic situation either.

    Indeed, the heavy traffic, infrastructure delays, and the other logistics issues under the Aquino administration could bring down the President’s satisfaction rating this year and next year, according to Action for Economic Reform (AER) Coordinator Filomeno S. Sta. Ana 3rd.

    A newspaper report said Filipinos waste 28,000 hours in traffic gridlocks. Think of all the productive work hours lost, not to mention fuel expenditure, the noise and air pollution from vehicles idling in traffic, the delays in the movement of goods, the deleterious effects on public health from the pollution and the stress.

    Time is money. Traffic causes delays in the arrival of workers and goods that affect production. Just look at the truck bans that contributed to the port-congestion problem, which led to substantial lost business revenues.

    According to a study, the traffic-related problems of Metro Manila alone costs the country an estimated at $2.019 billion a year, or P277 million daily, in lost time of workers; and another $19 million, or P962 million, annually in hospitalization expenses and lost productive time due to illness.

    And what is the President and his officials doing about the traffic problem? Certainly not enough.

    Even the wang wang is back. The President’s anti-wang-wang policy was very prominent early in his term. He said all motorists should follow traffic laws and cooperate with traffic officers and allow them to carry out their duties. But now you always see so-called official vehicles bullying their way through traffic again, flouting traffic laws and yes, even using if not wangs-wangs or sirens then their police escorts to escape traffic gridlocks. Where is the daang matuwid or walang wang-wang policy now?

    This administration is known for ningas-kugon, a Filipino term that refers to the habit of starting out a task with overwhelming enthusiasm but leaving it half-done or unfinished.

    Just look at how many PPP projects have been finished. Look at the country’s infrastructure projects’ slow pace of implementation.

    At the start of the Skyway extension project, for instance, there were so many traffic enforcers assigned to make traffic flow smoothly in the affected areas, and the alternative roads were cleared of obstructions.

    But try passing through Quirino and Osmeña Highway nowadays and see that even on Sundays and during late in the evening traffic is still horrendous.

    The alternative roads like Leon Guinto and Singalong and Vito Cruz are clogged with all kinds of obstructions like parked cars, hordes of pedicabs plying the areas, carinderias, makeshift basketball courts, mini palengkes on the street, barangay container van houses, sidewalk vendors, and what else have you.

    They are all in plain sight of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority enforcers or other local officials and still nothing is being done about them.

    Jeepneys as usual are stopping anywhere and everywhere to pick up and unload passengers, and the buses are operating pretty much like jeepneys—and traffic enforcers are just letting them do it.

    Listen, Mr. President. It is not enough to say you are not corrupt.

    “Noynoying” was a term used by activists before to signify your apathy and lack of action, or plain gross negligence and incompetence to do something about the country’s problems.

    There has been a lot of this Noynoying on the traffic problem.

    Is this where our taxes go?

    The traffic problem is not a parochial concern, Mr. President, not at all.

    Your approval ratings would rebound and even shoot through the roof if only you could untangle Metro Manila’s traffic gridlocks.

    The culprits are well known: inadequate and poorly planned infrastructure, too many vehicles, poor enforcement of rules and regulations.

    The solutions are clear and simple. It only takes political will.

    Reduce the number of legally operating public utility vehicles. Shorten the franchise periods from 15 years to only five years. We can still see smoke-belching PUVs that have seen much better days still plying our roads. Retiring them is an alien concept, both for the LTFRB and among operators.

    Infrastructure alone won’t solve our traffic problem. Besides, adding new roads is expensive. More than anything it’s about traffic management and transportation management.

    We should also make public transportation more convenient so that people will easily ditch their cars.

    It’s also about improving the planning and zoning system for residential and commercial property. For instance, building malls too close to the roads guarantees a massive convergence of vehicles that would choke traffic.

    It’s also about the strict enforcement of rules and regulations.

    It’s a combination of all these and more. Ultimately, it’s about the political will to enforce good urban planning.

    Our traffic problem is so complicated because it involves several agencies of government and several local governments. It needs the authority of a President to solve it. But it can be solved. There are successful models to emulate.

    Our traffic problem has vexed Metro Manila for the longest time and has choked economic activity. More than $3 billion a year is lost financially.

    This is a problem that needs the President’s prompt and immediate action. If Mr. Aquino is content to just pass on this problem to his successor then we should not vote for his anointed one.

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    9 Comments

    1. Blessing in disguise para kay BS Aquino ang SAF 44. Natabunan ang iba pang mga mabibigat na issue.

    2. After EDSA 1 revolution, mayroon bang naidagdag na hiways , road, bridges and railways transport system ang yellow regime sa ating bansa??? Bakit hindi nila dinagdagan ang mga hiways na alam namn nilang magkakaroon ng congested lalo na sa metro manila after a decade..
      mas mabuti pa si Ferdinand Marcos, alam nya ang mangyayari sa darating na panahon, kaya maagap siya sa mga proyektong ito. Ngayon , ano na ang nangyayari sa ating bansa?? There is no political will dahil, walang pakialam ang presidenteng ito sa kinabukasan ng ating mamayan at bansa.. Habang nakaupo ang presidenteng ito, di malayong magkaroon ng civil war dahil sa BBL na iyan…Ang mayaman lalong yumayaman at ang mahirap lalong naghihirap….

    3. Thank you for your article. I now believe that we should always bring this issue, and all important issues, publicly so that the President will listen or the public will know that he is not doing any substantial progress towards the resolution of this very important chronic problem. Besides the good reasons you have already stated, there are others, maybe not quite tangible, for having a good public mass transportation system: (1) It will decongest the Metro Manila area and give people the choice to live in less expensive areas outside MM; (2) It will definitely improve family life as people can go home on time to have dinner and conversation with their spouses, partners, children or parents before retiring for the night. For children, this is important especially if one of the parents read to them before sleeping, help in their school homework or just listen to their school problems and progress; (3) People can take night classes for continuing education, graduate studies, or finish their education while working at the same time; (4) People could have a second job, attend social events or their children’s sports activities, or just have more free time for themselves; (5) An excellent integrated mass transportation will entice people to leave their personal vehicles at home and take public transportation. The people interaction even if they don’t talk to each other, but of course this will invariably happen, will create a better appreciation, empathy and awareness of other people’s flight. It also creates opportunities to meet people in everyday situations for future relationships; (6) And finally, but definitely not the last reason, it will reduce the ambient temperature of Metro Manila and of course the pollution, as you have already stated, which at present, in developed countries, is beyond the acceptable health standard.

      Last year, the President went to Paris and Boston. He should have inspected and talk to the proper authorities on these cities’ excellent public transportation systems, both underground and above ground, just like when Chinese and Vietnamese government officials take trips outside their countries.

      I know the President cannot solve this chronic problem in a single term but at least he should have started solving it. Just the not-so-difficult solutions you have already mentioned would be a big help. But definitely political will is needed to solve this problem and the others. So in 2016, we should not be mesmerized by the candidates’ popularity or family name, but carefully think of our future as a nation and as a people in choosing our next leader.

    4. Mr. Herrera, magtanong lang po ng ibang topic. During your Senate days, meron po ba kayong isinulong at ginawang batas tungkol sa labor contractualization na pinahihintulutan ng batas ang 5 o 6 na buwang employment lang at walang renewal na siyang pinaiiral ng mga malalaking malls, factories, offices sa buong Pilipinas ngayon? Eto yung “555” o “endo” na laging sinasabi ni Amb. Seneres palagi sa kanyang column sa Philstar Ngayon. Me mga nagkukumento na meron daw batas ito at kayo ang sponsor sa Senado. Tutoo po ba ito? Sana wag nyo balewalain ang mga tanong na ito.

    5. Its unfair to blame all traffic problems to the pres. where in fact we Pinoys have a bigger part as to cause this situation. How nany millions are private vehicles registered alone in Metro Manila aside from nearby provinces registered vehicles? Do critics thought if we can solve traffic problems after completing those road projects to ease the situation? Btw, just continue blaming the govt and PUBs and skirt private car owners just to earn pogi points.

    6. There is so much that needs to happen to improve the traffic situation. Ill mention a few things i think needs to happen & im not sure of the order of importance.
      Driving tests. This is essential & they should be very strict to make sure people know how to drive properly & it should also come with strict enforcement of driving regulations.
      Completely changing your bus system. In the west midlands in the uk we have the west midlands passenger transport executive, its a local government organisation. It has buses that run strict routes & time tables. Here you have companies all vying for certain routes & fighting against each other for passengers. You also need bus lanes strictly for buses. Buses are so important as they carry an equivalent of 20 cars or more for each bus. So in theory 1 bus full removes at least 20 cars.
      certain things that have to be done in manila, like immigration should be made available locally or online to save total un nesecary journeys into manil by so many each & every day.
      You could also have a congestion charge.
      A lot of what i said will cost each person but you need this to sort the problems out.

    7. Manila north rail project was scrapped in 2012 , Manila Cavite coastal road was the
      last project that open up another corridor to south and that was one of the last project
      under the late Great Ferdinand Marcos , LRT ,SLEX and NLEX were ALL Marcos
      projects and the whole reclaimed area of roxas blvd ALL Marcos projects , the aquinos
      projects were BROWNOUTS .

    8. I am no traffic solution expert but I do drive. I have a drivers license issued by the province of Alberta, and a drivers license issued by the govt of the Philippines. When I go back to my own city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, I will have to switch off my Cebu driving mode. This is because of two reasons : if I follow Cebu rules, I will get into an accident in the first minute I hit the road, and second, there are strict rules of the road that are ENFORCED. I follow these rules which are pretty much universal. I actually stop at stop signs, yield to other traffic when needed, watch the posted speed, merge properly, stay in my lane, signal when doing a lane change, shoulder check to ensure it’s safe to do so, stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, drive on the right lane to allow faster motorists to go by, I wear my seat belt (it’s the law in Alberta)…my patience wears thin when I see guys in motorcycle drive on the wrong side of the road (my lane) and expect me to get out of their way, and it really burns me when I see oncoming motorist flash their headlights at me (to tell me what?) and even more hate for motorists who don’t turn on their headlights at night (I was told they’re trying to save gas) This is very dangerous because I can’t see them in my rear view mirror.
      The traffic nightmare in Metro Manila cannot be fixed. That’s it! What you see is what you get. There’s just too many vehicles for an infrastructure that has remained the same for the last four decades. It hasn’t kept up with the exponential increase in volume…there’s no remedy. Count the number of vehicles on the road in Metro Manila on any given day…let’s put them at a conservative 3 million. Include semi-trailers, buses, jeepneys, private cars, bicycles, motorcycles. Now imagine Metro Manila with super highways with 8 lanes on each side going in all directions, north south east west…put two lane exit and access ramps every kilometer, a sophisticated warning system for motorist to detect which highways are busy so they can be avoided, don’t allow jeepneys on these super freeways, enforce traffic laws — you’d still get massive jams regardless. Get the picture?

    9. Abnoy-noyingski on

      In order to shun away the traffic situation Metro Manila are suffering, there should be more fights of Manny Pacquiao, which brought down traffic mess during his fights! Plus added revenue for BIR.