SENATOR Ralph Recto on Thursday filed a resolution urging the Senate committee on public services to inquire into the supposed comprehensive traffic program of the government aimed at loosening the gridlocks in major urban centers.
Recto stressed the monstrous traffic jams have reached critical level that precious man-hours and resources are being wasted every minute that the metropolis stood still because of logjams.
“The Senate inquiry would determine if such traffic management plan would actually ease congestion in major urban centers and speed up the safe and efficient movement of people and goods,” Recto said in filing Senate Resolution No. 5.
He said he was alarmed to learn that the economy loses about U.S.$ 3.6 billion or 153 billion a year because of traffic congestion, particularly in Metro Manila.
It was noted that of the $ 3.6 billion, $ 1 billion is lost in wasted gasoline, electricity, man-hours and hiring of traffic aides, while the remaining $ 2.6 billion represents losses from reduced sales and investment disincentives.
Recto stressed the traffic solution should factor in the increase in numbers of vehicles on the road, the kilometers of new roads and bridges that were built and the burgeoning population.
“There is now one motor vehicle for every 14 Filipinos with 7 million roaring machines cramming our streets. And every hour, about one kilometer of road must be built or repaved to accommodate the 47 new vehicles, which are registered during the same hour,” he said.
He said the recurrence of gridlocks in Metro Manila and even in other major cities are transforming “our streets into chaos, making the movement of people and goods constricted, inefficient and unsafe.”
“The traffic bottlenecks are becoming a travel bane that adversely impact on the economy and also on the general well-being of Filipinos,” the senator stressed.
Recto said traffic experts even differ on approaching the problem since some favor constructing more roads and flyovers while others recommend raising the prices of motor vehicles to stop them from multiplying on the road.
He said the latest traffic solution being offered is by tweaking the current number coding scheme where motor vehicles would be totally barred from plying EDSA at least once during the week.
“There is a need to draft a traffic decongestion roadmap that would outline a comprehensive solution to the traffic mess at least until 2016,” he said.
Recto said the inquiry should “focus on the capacity of concerned agencies to execute the roadmap and devise ways for its successful implementation and ensure the efficient, safe and fast transport of people and products from one destination to another.”
He stressed without a sound traffic management plan, major roads such as EDSA would become giant parking lot where not a single machine and flesh would move.
Recto filed the resolution after the rest of Metro Manila and other urban centers were plunged into total “zero-movement” because of daily logjams that have reached nightmarish level during the month of June. PNA