ENFORCEMENT OF ROAD DISCIPLINE
WILL EASE TRAFFIC WOES
Consistent enforcement on roads discipline could go a long way to ease the traffic woes in Metro Manila, especially while projects to improve the country’s mass transport systems and road infrastructure have yet to be completed, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said.
“You know that the situation has turned from bad to worse when a Catholic Cardinal, who normally devotes himself to spiritual concerns, has to call the government’s attention to address the daily traffic hell,” Marcos said.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, was referring to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who urged the government to prioritize “putting order in the streets.”
He lamented that while the Philippines has an existing light rail system that could help ease the traffic in the metropolis, it is plagued not only with serious safety and reliability issues, poor maintenance, and overcrowding but also allegations of corruption.
“Construction of new roads and fixing the trains will take some time, but traffic congestion can at least be partly solved by consistently enforcing discipline on our roads,” said Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Works.
“Without consistent enforcement of road discipline, the traffic situation will not improve even if the traffic czar of the metropolis himself acts as a traffic enforcer,” he added.
Marcos stressed that discipline should “come from the top” which is why it is important that merit and not political consideration should guide the appointment of leaders of traffic and law enforcement agencies.
“Corrupt and erring lower-level officers cannot be corrected by superiors who are not above reproach. The next administration must ensure that discipline is the rule throughout every rank of law enforcement,” Marcos said.
Traffic congestion and an overworked public transit system have a serious negative impact on productivity and well-being of workers, as well as the profitability of businesses, according to Marcos.
A study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency calculated the cost of traffic at P2.4 billion a day and could rise to P6 billion a day in 2030 if adequate intervention is not in place by that time.
“The next administration should focus on expanding the transportation infrastructure, as well as providing better training and proper equipment to law enforcement and for the orderly conduct of our transport system,” Marcos said.
Almost everyday, thousands missed their flights as monstrous traffic jams were reported on most major roads in Metro Manila especially along EDSA, Airport Road and Sucat Road – vital arteries leading to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya‘s comment that the traffic is “not fatal” infuriated thousands of commuters who endure the daily traffic ordeal, forcing him to make a hasty apology
Create More Jobs
Sen. Marcos, said the government should rethink the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program,
the money devoted for it may be better spent on basic infrastructures that could generate more jobs and spread the benefits of economic growth to more people.
Speaking at the “Kapihan sa Manila Hotel” media forum recently, Marcos noted that while the government has been trumpeting a “remarkable” growth rate of our economy, its benefit is hardly felt by the majority of our people.
“You cannot add jobs if the economy is not growing. Now, we hear that we are growing at a remarkable rate, but it is not felt by ordinary people. It is felt by big corporations, it is felt by rich people,” Marcos clarified.
“There is a very serious failure in the policies for the distribution of wealth,” he added.
Marcos said it may be time for the government to rethink its policy on the CCT because despite spending P65 billion a year on the program, there are no significant improvements in the poverty rate, literacy rate, and mortality rate in the country.
“We have probably arrived at a point of diminishing returns. Maybe, that money can be used for schools, for hospitals, for roads, for bridges, for power plants, for the improvement of the internet, a new airport, more ports—all of these things are doable,” Marcos assessed.
Marcos reiterated that these basic infrastructures are essential in spurring economic growth and creating more jobs for the poor.
To create more jobs, the government should provide easier credit facilities to small and medium-size enterprises which is one of the main drivers of the country’s economic growth. He noted that around 90 percent of our work force is in the private sector.
Corollary, Marcos suggested that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) should redirect its courses whereby our workers will be able to compete with their counterparts in the forthcoming ASEAN integration.
“I believe that without changing any policies, without passing any new laws, we can improve the performance of the DOLE when it comes to protecting our workers, preparing our workforce for employment in the private sector, and in protecting and supporting our OFWs,” Marcos opined.
Marcos in the same forum called for the implementation of laws against contractualization, “Our laws provide for protections and benefits for our workers and we must abide by those rights and privileges that we have accorded to our workers,” Marcos concluded,/MP