Bad idea

TO ease traffic, it is proposed that not just trucks, but also certain people, be banned from roads. How? By cutting the workweek of government workers from five days to four, and increasing their work hours from eight to 10. The Kilusang Mayo Uno is right: What about the daily-wage workers? There are such people in the government, like new nurses who slip in money to the Department of Health to hire them. The weekly take will be less than a day’s wage. And there is also health to consider. There is a reason eight hours was fixed as the maximum number of work hours, one that is consistent with good health and efficiency. It isn’t how long you are at a job, but how well you can still do it with your eyes wide open.

column-teddy locsin-free fireSome who don’t have regular jobs, but are well-paid, say why not give it a try; others say it will affect government service, or what passes for it.

The former say government workers can do as much work in a four-day workweek with longer hours, as they do—or not do—in five days with eight hours. But public service is not about putting in more hours in fewer days, but being available every working day. Everyone is better off today after Banco de Oro Unibank added more banking days and longer banking hours; ditto for mall operations. The ideal is that government workers are on the job the whole workweek, so that the working public can, whenever possible, slip out of their respective workplaces to avail themselves of public services, for which their wages are deducted.

But what about traffic? How would we solve this problem with the same number of people in vehicles today? The solution to traffic was already implemented with former President Fidel V. Ramos’s sky train, or the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT 1) and the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3). We are the only country with two sets of initials for the same friggin’ service. But succeeding governments threw away the solution and even questioned the public-fare subsidy, even if that subsidy is far less than what the public generates for the economy by riding the sky train, or the LRT 1 and the MRT 3, to work. Screw it.

Image credits: Jimbo Albano


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