President Rodrigo Duterte last week named former Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim as chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The burning question is: Can he find solutions to the worsening Metro Manila traffic?”
We hope and pray that Lim and his new team can come up with more creative traffic solutions soon.
We have written about this topic before but we want to reiterate our suggestions to the new MMDA chairman:
1. He should get rid of the syndicates operating within the MMDA. We heard that members of these syndicates have been the protectors of illegal parking operators and colorum vehicles plying in the Metro.
2. He should study and analyze the number of buses passing through Edsa. We think the number should be radically reduced. First to go should be the so-called rolling coffins. There are still quite a lot of them plying the Edsa route, albeit with very few passengers, if at all. All they do is clog already-congested Edsa. Get rid of them.
3. MMDA should work hand in hand with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). Lim should ensure that the LTFRB is more judicious in granting franchises to taxicabs, FX, buses and vans.
4. The MMDA and LTFRB should also intensify operations against colorum vehicles. Even private vehicles should be monitored. For every vehicle registered, there should be one put to rest. Maybe there should be a quota of some kind?
5. The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) should also be expanded. MRT already has stations in Roosevelt and Balintawak. Why not extend this all the way to SM North Edsa to complete the loop?
There are a plethora of practical solutions worth trying. We hope Lim will be creative enough to pursue them.
He should also not follow the track record of former Chairmen Francis Tolentino and Thomas “Tim” Orbos.
Not a few of our kababayans have commented that solutions presented by the previous MMDA chairmen are not well thought out. Once they come up with a scheme, they implement it immediately without serious consideration of the consequences.
According to available data, Edsa has the capacity for only 2,000 buses in order for traffic to flow smoothly. However, 12,000 thousand buses have been allowed to travel and were given franchises by the LTFRB. That means Edsa is accommodating six times its capacity for buses.
No wonder the immense traffic gridlock! The simple truth of the matter is, there are simply too many vehicles passing this major artery.
We are losing billions of pesos in terms of man-hours, fuel and stress due to traffic we encounter everyday. Not to mention the harmful effect on the quality of the air we breathe due to the smoke and fumes emanating from vehicles.
We once saw a study made by the UP National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) which said that P100 billion is lost annually because of the traffic problem in Metro Manila.
According to the UP-NCTS study, almost P100 million a day is lost by businessmen and government executives due to traffic. Add to this the P95 million wasted everyday by professionals working in the metropolis’ various offices.
We would like to point out that these figures are daily losses due to traffic. Considering that the study was done several years ago, We are quite sure that the figures will be even more staggering if the UP-NCTS study were done today.
Meanwhile, according to an assessment by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the figures could even be higher at P150 billion a year. Whether P100 or 200 billion, this is too big a price to pay for traffic. In fact, some experts point out that what we lose to traffic could be more.
The billions lost could be used to build hospitals and buy medicine for our less-fortunate countrymen. Hundreds of schools could be built for our school children who are sometimes squeezed 100 to a classroom.
What about irrigation systems for our farmers who could finally, in an ideal world, help us attain our dream for self sufficiency in food and agricultural products?
We know that there are some solutions that are being planned. However, we wonder why the authorities concerned seem to be taking their own sweet time in doing it.
We hope Chairman Lim can fast-track the implementation process. Our people have suffered enough.