Once again, why not try ‘four-day work week’?
With monstrous traffic jams expected to hit Metro Manila as a result of the construction of several major road projects, I am reviving my suggestion for a “four-day work week,” cum one additional day-off applied alternatively or on a staggered basis in various areas in Metro Manila on an experimental basis. For instance, offices in Quezon City, Las Piñas and Manila will have no work on Mondays; Pasay, Taguig and Caloocan on Tuesdays; Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa and Parañaque on Wednesdays; San Juan, Pasig and Makati on Thursdays. The combination of the cities or areas in the alternating arrangement of the additional day-off will depend on population or traffic conditions, as determined and recommended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
I made this suggestion as early as 1997 when we were experiencing an oil crisis and heavy traffic was starting to create problems in Metro Manila. In June 2008, I reiterated this proposal, and a study was then made by the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Budget and Management as to its viability. That was the last time I heard about it from government.
The staggered day-off system will certainly ease traffic in Metro Manila considering the substantial number of private vehicles that will not be used during the day-off. This will also ultimately result in gas and fuel savings and allow our jeepney and bus drivers to double or triple their daily trips, thereby increasing their daily income. Employees will save a lot in terms of transportation expenses, food and clothing.
To compensate for the eight work hours lost from the additional day-off, offices, agencies or companies participating in this proposal may adjust their work schedules accordingly to comply with the 40-hours-a-week requirement (like working from 7 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for four days, which will add up to 40 hours a week). At any rate, most employees usually stay late in the office or go to work very early in the morning to avoid the traffic. 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.
This proposal, coupled with the strict implementation of the existing number-coding system, is an answer to our government’s call for all concerned agencies and citizens to help solve the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila and to conserve electricity and fuel in response to rising costs. Educational institutions may also 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, social welfare, labor and the like.
If this proposal proves to be successful in Metro Manila, then it could be adopted in other metro cities like Cebu and Davao.
—ROMULO B. MACALINTAL,
Las Piñas City
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