Small solutions, great effects

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AL S. VITANGCOL III

A QUICK perusal of various online sites, blogs, and the unending social media war between the Dutertards and Yellowtards show that most Filipinos trade barbs and complaints about the government and its officials – but nary offer solutions to these problems. Yes, Filipinos know fully well the common enemies: abuse of power, poverty, and lack of health care, among others. Yet, nobody wants to wrack their brains to come up with solutions.

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My insight tells me that we should let thinking Filipinos propose specific solutions to specific problems and require the government to implement these solutions. The operative word here is “require”. Unless we force the government to execute these proposals, then our efforts would be in vain.

Following the Pareto principle, these small solutions could create great effects. By the way, the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity, states that, for many events, roughly80 percent of the effects come from20 percent of the causes. By analogy, if we come up with solutions for 20 percent of our problems, then we may experience relief up to 80 percent from the same problems.

Let me share some quick, but doable, solutions.

Edsa traffic
There seems to be no end to the travails of motorists driving along Edsa.

As a motorist traversing Edsa on a daily basis, I have already identified chokepoints and possible solutions to ease the traffic flow.

One of the chokepoints is the intersection of Edsa, Taft Avenue, and Edsa Extension in Pasay City. All the essential ingredients are present in this point – multiple traffic signs and traffic lights, MMDA enforcers, and Pasay City policemen.

What is the quick solution for this chokepoint? Strictly disallow pedicabs and tricycles from plying along Edsa. Do not allow any pedestrians to cross in the intersection. Apprehend all PUJ drivers, who pick up passengers in the restricted areas. And most of all, fire all of these inefficient and ineffective MMDA and Pasay City traffic enforcers and replace them with competent ones.

Car license plates
Recall how Land Transportation Authority (LTO) Chief Edgar C. Galvante issued a memorandum to all accredited motor vehicle dealers on the use of conduction sticker number as temporary license plate number.

All LTO accredited dealers have to comply with the specifications and design of the temporary license plates for motor vehicles prior to their release or delivery to the owners. Car dealers face sanctions if they fail to comply beyond February 15, 2017.

So, how do we solve this gargantuan problem that besets our motorists?

Instead of using the conduction sticker number, LTO can readily issue the corresponding motor vehicle plate number. Better yet, all new vehicles should be issued their permanent motor vehicle number instead of the conduction sticker number.

Accredited car dealers should communicate with the LTO regarding their new vehicle units. Using the database of motor vehicle license plates, the LTO then assigns permanent license plate numbers to these new vehicles.

Car dealers can directly contract out to accredited license plates manufacturer the production of car plates – following a rigid set of specifications. These plates should contain serial numbers or embedded codes, which can be stored at the LTO database and validated by authorities for authentication purposes.

The car dealers then order the assigned plate numbers from the car plate manufacturers, which in turn manufacture the same following strictly the specifications and design as required by LTO.

The car plate manufacturer assigns a serial number or a code to each plate. These serial numbers or codes are then transmitted to LTO for record keeping and updates of its database. Manufactured secured car plates are ultimately released to car dealers.

Finally, before a motor vehicle is released to the buyer, the dealer attaches the car plates to the new vehicle. No new vehicles will be allowed on the road without the proper license plates attached to them.

A big problem solved with a simple and quick solution.

5-6 lending scheme
Early this year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Cabinet to put an end to the “5-6” lending business in the country, allegedly perpetrated by citizens of India.

In response, the Department of Trade and Industry implemented a micro-lending program called the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program. The P3 program aims to extend soft loans to small and micro enterprises at affordable rates, without any collateral needed. As expected, the micro-lending program was not received well at the grassroot level.

How come the poor Filipinos still prefer the Indian “5-6” scheme over the P3pProgram?

Presumably, the main reason is that the P3 program is being implemented the traditional way. If this program can be implemented the way “5-6” is done, then it might succeed. The government should not wait for the needy to come to them. It should bring its services down to the level of the poor Filipinos.

Here is the quick solution. DTI accredits non-government organizations (NGOs) to carry out the P3 program in their jurisdiction. NGOs employ runners and collectors (yes, just like jueteng collectors.) These runners/collectors bring with them small amounts of money and they make the rounds in public markets and other areas where small and micro businesses thrive.

In their daily grind, the runners/collectors decide on the fly to whom they will grant soft loans. They likewise collect the payments due from the borrowers and automatically rolls over their loans, as necessary. These runners/collectors should do it like Indians – except that the interest rates are much lower.

These are just three of the quick solutions that we think the government can adopt, knowing that the present crop of officials are not adept at these things.

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