WE now talk of port decongestion to decongest tangled traffic choking Metro Manila almost beyond repair now. Fine. The traffic jams had mangled lives in the metropolis the past weeks, as though they have struck us, been striking us mercilessly, only now.
But, hey, no. The snarls and gridlocks and bottlenecks have been with us for years, causing blood to boil, nerves to frazzle and people to shoot on various rage riots that kill people senselessly.
How many Maguans now are behind bars for road rage murders? If we don’t watch it, there could be more Maguans in the immediate future.
This is not to include corruption happening amid traffic woes, with bundles of moolah being reportedly collected daily by some unscrupulous officials as alleged hush money to protect colorum public conveyances, not to mention good cash wringed out from modest kitties of hapless, daily-wage earning jeepney/taxi/bus/truck drivers.
How people of evil minds can have the gall to fleece hapless people of their hard-earned livelihood is one question even maybe Pope Francis might not be able to answer profoundly.
Subic and ‘last mile’ approach
THE congestion at Port Area in Manila was caused mainly by the truck ban during specified hours of the day imposed by Manila Mayor Erap in a bid to regulate the flow of trucks going out and coming into the city’s premier port terminal.
The lack of roads in the metropolis is no match for the enormous presence of haulers doing business at Port Area.
The port-decongestion scheme now in place would allow trucks to park in Subic and Olongapo, with Batangas as another option. Starting on September 7, Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma ordered trucks taking out cargoes from Port Area to avail themselves of a 24-hour, “last-mile” privilege up to September 22, wherein trucks on a mission will be arrest-free. On October 1, port authorities will begin imposing a P5,000 fine for overstaying cargoes.
At least they are doing something. Better than nothing at all.
We lose P2.4 billion a day on traffic
Do you know how much money is lost due to the traffic mess in Metro Manila? Daily, we lose P2.4 billion. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) data gathered by our Cai U. Ordinario, we could lose P6.0 billion a day starting in 2030 if we don’t fix our traffic woes now.
Actually, even during the Martial Law years, traffic in the metropolis has been one of the major causes of wastage that had helped stunt economic growth due to hours lost by manpower either stuck in daily traffic or stranded on the streets in the absence of public rides. Fuel lost alone in daily traffic snarls would translate into a virtual fortune. So, what should be done? While port decongestion is nice, how about also decongesting Metro Manila of both people and, yes, government offices? The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is now enjoying smooth traffic because many government offices have been moved out of the city.
About time we also considered that option, with people-laden, business-heavy bureaus, agencies and departments transferred to Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite for starters. Better yet, concentrate on encouraging many offices, too, to move outside the metropolis—not to mention also “banning provincianos” who “try their luck” in the Big City. But, of course, let’s do that by not outlawing outright the freedom of movement. Let’s start by encouraging more investors to build their businesses in the country to help discourage migration to Metro Manila—as in convincing car companies to put up their manufacturing/parts/accessories plants far from Metro Manila.
Include subways, too
The Big City good life is now practically a thing of the past. The city’s been bursting at the seams for years now. About time we built new cities, communities, out there in the wilderness to make new havens—if not heavens—for a healthy, pollution- and traffic-free future. As I said, we sell only 250,000 vehicles a year—a handful if compared to the 2.6 million cars that Thailand sells yearly. That measly total of 250K would be a mere minor dent on our traffic woes. The construction of more surface roads, above-surface/countryside expressways and a mass railway system that should include subways, too, will massively help untangle snarls in the metropolis.
But will our so-called leaders and authorities listen—finally?
Pee stop The car war is on as we approach December, that time of year when buying is at its peak. The claim is, the new Chevrolet Trailblazer LTX 2.8L is now the best in its class with its 200 horses, and the best in its class with 500 Nm torque pulling power…Suzuki’s trio sells sweetly at P738K for its Jimny, P899K for SX4 and P1.16M for its Grand Vitara…Foton’s “Go All-In” downpayment blasts will put Thunder at P88K, View Traveller at P190K and Tornado 2E at P60K…Now “Speak Ford Focus” goes at P138K all-in low or P50K cash discount for its 2.0L Sport+Hatchback, P128K or P70K 2.L Titanium+Sedan, and P80k or P70K 1.6L Trend Sedan…And finally, happy birthday to Toyota-lover Ramon Uy (September 14). Ramon, whose organic farming advocacy in Negros Occidental has been drawing raves nationwide as it basically forwards farmers’ interest first—for free, at that—is the handsome, humble hubby of beauteous, kind-hearted May. Cheers!