THE economic costs of traffic in Metro Manila are going up every single day, and unless the government implements the solution offered by the exhaustive one-year study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the horrendous traffic jams bedeviling motorists will cost a staggering P6 billion a day in 15 years, as opposed to P2.4 billion today.
The study revealed that the metropolis needed 137 kilometers of new roads, 78 km of urban expressways and more than 200 km of new rail transit lines, both elevated and underground. But instead of building such infrastructure, the measures being proposed by the government to ease traffic woes are downright silly: Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board member Ariel Inton wants private vehicles off Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), while Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis N. Tolentino wants traffic lights and traffic enforcers to alternately manage traffic on Katipunan Avenue.
One key road infrastructure that falls within the ambit of Jica’s offered solution to the daily traffic, but is yet to materialize, is the planned North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road. Once constructed, the 13-km connector road will greatly ease the daily traffic jams on Edsa and Circumferential Road 5, or C-5, that now threaten our agricultural and manufacturing industries. The connector-road project will also link Clark and Ninoy Aquino international airports, as well as provide access to Manila’s busy ports.
With the connector road, there will be tremendous savings and even the poor are seen to take advantage of its huge benefits, which the study extrapolated: The current average transport cost of P42 a day would be reduced to P24, while travel time would be cut from 80 minutes to 30 minutes.
There is no better concrete plan than that for the connector road, which is something that even Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand have constructed for their benefit, because they have scarce lands. As Jica Philippines Senior Representative Eigo Azukizawa said: “[An] efficient public-transport system is a pro-poor investment, as it provides reasonable ways of moving. [Also], it enables people to commute from suburban areas, where one can afford housing in a more spacious and safer area.”
Anchor Land’s dilemma
A PLAN by listed Anchor Land Holdings Inc., which specializes in sophisticated property developments, to revive the glory of the Admiral Hotel has been put in hold, with the old hotel half-demolished after the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) flip-flopped on its earlier decision to greenlight the demolition after heritage conservationists expressed indignation.
Anchor Land earlier sought the NHCP’s opinion after it bought the Admiral Hotel from the Lopez-Araneta group in 2009 and was intent on developing the property with the view of making it a cultural-heritage site. The commission then wrote that Anchor Land could consider the property for “adaptive reuse,” which led to its decision to put up an entirely new structure, since the hotel can no longer be retrofitted and is structurally unsound.
Thus, Anchor Land proceeded to demolish the building and, at the same time, tapped the Accor Group, a big European hotel operator, to take over the management of the new hotel once it is built. What followed, though, was a lamentable cease-and-desist order issued by the NHCP, acting on a petition from heritage conservationists.
The heritage conservationists made a fuss about the demolition and, after an inspection of the site on September 23, petitioned the commission to stop it. Now, not only is Anchor Land in a big predicament, thanks to the NHCP flip-flopping on its initial decision, its P1-billion investment to resurrect Admiral Hotel as a 150-room super deluxe hotel is in danger of being “wasted,” due to no fault of its own.
Corporation Code seminar
A SEMINAR on the proposed amendments to the Corporation Code and updates on corporate reportorial compliance that targets directors, compliance officers, corporate secretaries, business owners, practicing lawyers and certified public accountants (CPAs), among others, will be held on October 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the fifth floor of RCBC Plaza. CPA-lawyer Rosario S. Bernaldo will lead the discussions on the proposed amendments and how these may affect businesses.
Other CPA-lawyers will speak on best practices in conducting annual stockholders’ and board of directors’ meetings, and in keeping up-to-date corporate records and complying with the government’s reportorial requirements. Lawyers Danilo C. Cunanan, Pepito G. Po, Christopher A. Presto and Reynato M. Directo, all partners of Bernaldo Directo & Po Law Office, will act as resource persons.
For details, call Inah Gines at (632) 892-4487 or 812-1718 to 24, or e-mail email@example.com; or call Vangie Idusora at 840-0535 to 38 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credits: Benjo Laygo