Benjamin Franklin once told, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”
In the Philippines, you can add to the list traffic congestion in Metro Manila as another sure thing we experience every day. MMDA reported 326,504 vehicles pass through EDSA every day. 12,000 to 15,000 of them are buses. In 2015, LTO-NCR recorded a monthly average new registration of 14,783 multi-wheeled vehicles (cars, SUVs, buses and trucks) and 14,940 two-wheeled units.
According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), traffic congestion cost the Philippines P2.4 billion every day in 2012. If remain unsolved, our country can lose P6B daily by 2030. The National Center for Transportation Studies (UP Diliman) explained that the cost of traffic are based on several factors, among them are: value of time lost due to delay; fuel costs; vehicle operating costs; Impact on health; and Greenhouse gas emissions.
An average Metro Manila resident, mostly working people travelling to and from their office, spends 1,000 hours a year in traffic and wastes as much as 28,000 hours of his economic life. Wasted productivity hours amount to a monetary value that could be used for other things such as earning extra income or spending more time with the family.
Joey Tibayan-Bayan, a radio reporter laments that going to and from work is such a chore. She said, “You get all dressed up looking fresh and clean, when you get on the PUVs, you disembark sweaty tired and dejected. The day has not event started yet!”
John Cueto, VP for Network and Technology, describes the Metro traffic as “tragic” because it wastes time and effort that results to low productivity. “Mompreneur” Margaux Hemady Rañosa confessed that her mother and sister were forced to rent a place in Ortigas because of the exhaustion they get from traffic and waiting for transportation to go to work. Ron Barbaza, a blogger, would sometimes allot 4 hours of travel time to go to event venues just to make he will not miss his gigs. BPO Manager Shawn Andrei Summers sums up his frustrations in five words, “Heavy traffic jam stresses me.”
Gretchen Filart Dublin shared that traffic is one of those reasons why she shifted to full-time freelancing because it takes her 4 hours to travel from Bulacan to her previous office in Manila. April Salonga, a Management consultant declares traffic as “unbelievable” and getting worse because she now gets late even on weekends. Rizza Garingo, who leads a field market survey team, would sometimes utter the word “hellish” when stuck in traffic that only makes him doubly tired at the end of the day. Cheryl True, a researcher, seems to have given up in finding answers to the traffic problem and uttered, “Traffic is here to stay. It’s hopeless!”
The government has taken some initiatives in response to the worsening traffic situation and its effect especially to workers like implementing of a four-day work week scheme in some government offices and the DOLE Advisory No. 4, Series of 2010 that includes flexible work arrangements.
The People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), the premier organization of HR practitioners and people managers in the country with a membership of more than 1,800 corporate and individual members, conducted a survey in one of their recent monthly meeting attended by more than 200 members. The results showed that 81% of the respondents are in favor of a 4-day work week scheme. The companies also shared that they provide benefits to their employees to lessen the effect of traffic like flexible work schedule, free shuttle, work from home option and gas allowance.
PDI talked to working people from all walks of life and asked them for suggestions on how to lessen the traffic problems that we are currently facing. The following are their responses:
Ruth Dela Cruz, IT Consultant. Local companies should start implementing work from home option especially for positions which don’t require physical reporting in the office.
Kellypad Biasong, Nurse. Improve our train system and implement a “No parking, No car” policy.
Cristal Maramag, Digital Officer. There should be more means of public transportation and the government needs to fix our roads especially in flood-prone areas which worsen the traffic.
Grace Bondad Nicolas, COO of a media and PR firm. Carpooling is another solution we can consider aside from improving of our railway systems.
Raffy Pedrajita,Tech blogger. Every barangay should create a mass parking system for people who don’t have a garage. Limit car ownership per family or company and fire the current MMDA chair.
Enzo Luna, Blogger/ Photographer. If only we have a train system that works on time like in Japan then wasted time going to work or school will be eliminated. Adapting an effective system will help ease our public commuting.
John Michael Bueno, Computer Engineer. Use waterways and additional layer of roads as options for more efficient public transportations. People should see train ads in Singapore, it’s fun and educational.
Joveth Ong, Entreprenuer. Traffic management should start with LTO, LTFRB and MMDA. What are those colorum vehicles doing on the streets? For me that’s the basic and that’s the easiest way to manage the traffic.
Abdel Sabdani, Corporate Communication and Marketing Manager. Companies should be mandated to have vehicles that can pick-up and drop-off employees on designated points.
Jocelyn Alaraña Magbitang, Travel Agency Owner. Open the gates of private villages even for a limited time only.
David Ricardo Valencia Ferro, Network Administrator. Old buses should be phased out.
Yenan Glorioso, Project Development Officer. Centralized transport system is one solution. Increase the registration of vehicles 500 folds to discouraged car ownership.
Saj Kamid, Research and Extension Specialist. Bus rapid transit should be considered as another mass transport mode. Re-educating the pedestrians on proper crossing, when to cross, how to use pedestrian facilities should also be considered.
Agustin John Cabredo, Government employee. I moved near my office and I ride my bicycle to go to work every day. It’s environment-friendly, cheap, and good for the health.
Mark Joshua Pineda, Social Media Officer. Mass transport system, proper jeepney stops.
Peter Sumile, Publisher. Install walkways and flyovers in intersections, major roads and national roads.
Adrian Marco, Programming and Production Manager. President Duterte should reprimand all “underperforming” local government officials: mayors, vice mayors and governors. Manila and Pasay are good case studies.
Jayson R. Biadog, Technical Support. Flexible work schedule for employees.
Gino Romano Santos Decipeda, Process Specialist. Phase out all vehicles 10 years old and above.
Jhey Em, Call Center agent. Expanded number coding scheme which will prohibit vehicles from the streets at least two days a week.
Leo Brisenio , Photographer. We need an effective and efficient transport system which should be run by the government.
David D’Angelo, Event Organizer. Enact a congestion fee system where private vehicles will be charged per hour for using major roads which are deemed congested. Improve traffic lights and electronic system and remove incompetent traffic enforcers.
Whether we like it or not, the current traffic situation in Metro Manila will be something that we will be seeing for the years to come unless a miracle of a solution will pop out soon. While we are waiting for the antidote that will bring a lasting improvement to our roads, maybe we can still smile a little in the midst of a traffic jam and spread good vibes to our fellow motorist instead of pouting or worse, be involved in a road rage.
Or maybe we can consider the clever traffic-buster from working mom Mary Jane Dionela, who recently migrated from Pasig City to Davao City, who suggested, “Zipline please!”
Richard Mamuyac is the communications specialist of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), the premier organization of HR practitioners and people managers in the country.