Solution to traffic woes
The column of Rina Jimenez-David, “Traffic misery loves company,” was most welcome (Opinion, 9/17/17). While extrajudicial killings are most detestable, the greatest problem staring us in the face is traffic congestion and this deserves continuing discussion and search for solution.
Several years back, it was estimated that the traffic problem resulted in the daily loss of P2.5 billion to the Philippine economy. The daily loss would have likely reached P3 billion now. A big segment of the population has to get up very early in
the morning to reach work on time and return home very late at night.
I do not have to report for work early but still spend at least three hours daily going to and from the office. A colleague, who lives in Novaliches, spends at least seven hours a day commuting. In the evenings, commuters are scattered along stretches of Makati and Mandaluyong pitifully watching fully-loaded buses and jeepneys pass by.
The lives of perhaps a majority of Metro Manila residents have been made most miserable because of traffic. They are needlessly losing a good part of their lives dealing with the traffic congestion. Past administrations have not been helpful to them
and the present administration has not come up with solutions either.
It was reported that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair said requiring buyers of cars to show proof of owning parking spaces made sense, but that this was “unenforceable.” He does not seem to understand the power of government!
Moreover, present and past administrations have seen to the start of construction of skyways and overpasses, expected to be finished several years from now. Thus, with the road works, heavily congested three-lane roads became more heavily
congested two-lane roads so that commuters’ woes were exacerbated!
Nobody in government seems to understand that our problem is that we have too many vehicles and the solution is the drastic reduction in the number of private vehicles. Just consider measures undertaken by other governments: a) In Singapore, a buyer of a vehicle must acquire from government a certificate of
entitlement (COE), which becomes available when another vehicle is taken off the road or deregistered; b) In Singapore, ownership of a car is good only for 10 years, after which one has to acquire another COE; c) In some countries, to buy a car, one must prove that he has rights to a parking space; d) In Singapore, there is a system by which vehicles entering commercial areas will be billed accordingly; and e) In some countries, vehicles five years old or older have to pay very high registration fees.
Finally, there was a Japan International Cooperation Agency study on the Philippine traffic situation. Its recommendations centered on the construction of skyways and other infrastructure projects. But there was no mention of the high volume of vehicles and the need to reduce their number. We have to
remember though that the Philippines is a good market for second-hand vehicles from Japan, hence, this suggestion. Perhaps it is time to stop the importation of used vehicles.
RENE TORRES, Makati City
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