Traffic ate up P2T from 1999 to 2013

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THE worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila and elsewhere has chomped up losses worth about P2 trillion from 1999 up to the present, a multi-sectoral group said on Sunday.

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According to Red Advocates, a study conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in1999 showed that traffic jams slowed down the economy by P140 billion.

Red Advocates is a newly formed multi-sectoral group of concerned citizens advocating “Respect Equals Discipline” on Philippine roads.

On one hand, a University of the Philippines (UP) study covering the years 2001 to 2011 also showed that the country lost about P1.5 trillion from the same problem.

“By these estimates, we can already come to the conclusion that the country had lost close or even more than P2 trillion over the years,” said Brian Galagnara, the president of the group said.

Galagnara said traffic is a problem that can be cured by the active participation of all stakeholders- the government, the private sector and the general public.

“All of us are confronted with this problem in our daily lives. We must recognize the fact that this problem exists and it has been draining us as a nation,” he added.

Galagnara said the two separate studies quantified the financial impact of traffic in Metro Manila, the last of which was that by the UP National Center for Transportation Studies (UP NCTS).

“The findings of these studies are essentially the same. They peg the losses due to traffic at approximately P140 billion annually,” lamented Galagnara.

He attributed the huge losses to wasted gasoline, lost labor hours, employment of traffic aides and wasted electricity; the indirect losses refer to withdrawal of potential foreign investments, missed business opportunities and reduced capital inflow.

“These are losses that should immediately be addressed,” said Galagnara adding that “traffic is getting worse by the day due to our inaction.”

He said that his group would “go beyond finger-pointing and focus on doable solutions that would involve the participation of all the stakeholders affected by traffic, everyone.”

“Like corruption, traffic is something that affects us all, rich or poor. Even the powerful are powerless when our roads are clogged,” said Galagnara.

He also stressed that it is obvious that the traffic enforcers have no proper training in the science of traffic management.

According to Galagnara, there is also a need to instill the discipline through effective traffic law enforcement.

“It is important for traffic enforcers to understand the driver mentality and behavior. Filipinos follow rules when enforced fairly and correctly like in Subic and when driving abroad,” the group had stressed.

“This is the reason why we organized an advocacy group called The RED Advocates. R, E, D, or RED, means Respect Equals Discipline,” Galagnara added.

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