A ‘1997’ suggestion to ease Metro traffic
Let’s accepts it: The traffic problem in Metro Manila, at present, is terrible. It is deadly and could be fatal—contrary to Transportation Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya’s view—though no one seems to care. No solution has been offered by the concerned agencies of the government because while there has been an increase in the volume of vehicles there has been no increase in the roads to travel.
Thus, I reiterate my suggestion for a “four-day workweek” or three days off per week. I have been suggesting this since 1997. Under this scheme, there will be fours days of work per week on a staggered or alternate basis in the different cities of Metro Manila.
For instance, there will be no work in Quezon City, Las Piñas City and Pasay City on Mondays; in Manila, Taguig City and Caloocan City on Tuesdays; in Mandaluyong City, Muntinlupa City and Parañaque City on Wednesdays; in San Juan City, Pasig City and Makati City on Thursdays; and in Malabon City, Navotas City, Valenzuela City and Pateros on Fridays. The combination of the cities or areas in this alternating arrangement of “one workday-off per week” will depend on the number of population or traffic condition therein as may be determined and recommended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
A good example of the effect of a staggered one workday-off per week is when Manila and San Juan City celebrate Manila Day and the Feast of St. John the Baptist, respectively, every June 24 where light traffic would be experienced because of the holidays in these two big cities.
The staggered system of giving one workday-off per week will certainly ease the traffic situation in Metro Manila considering the substantial number of private vehicles that will not be used during this one workday-off which will ultimately result in gas and fuel savings. This will also result in additional daily trips for taxi, bus and jeepney drivers, thereby increasing their daily income. Employees will save a lot from the weekly additional day-off in terms of transportation expenses, food and clothing.
To compensate for the eight-hour loss from the one workday-off or four-day workweek, the working hours of the offices or companies may be adjusted accordingly to comply with the requirement of 40 hours of work per week. This means they may work from 7 a.m. to 12 noon in the first half of the day, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the latter part, for four days, which adds up also to 40 hours a week. At any rate, it is very common that most employees stay late in the office even after office hours or come to work very early in the morning to avoid the traffic in going to and from their respective offices. A little sacrifice from all concerned people and offices is not too much to ask at this time when everybody is called upon to cooperate for the greater welfare of the public.
Educational institutions may also be encouraged to support this proposal by making appropriate adjustments to the class schedules of their students and faculty members. This may not, however, cover government agencies at the “frontline” of public service like those involved in health and social welfare.
—ROMULO B. MACALINTAL,
Las Piñas City
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