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Easing Metro Manila traffic requires more than just band aid solution


A lawmaker from Valenzuela City today has called on the Metro Manila Development Authority or MMDA to come up with a comprehensive but doable plan that will help ease the traffic congestion now being experienced by motorists and commuters in the metropolis.


Congressman Win Gatchalian said it is well within the powers and authority of MMDA to make a comprehensive study on what should be done to ease the traffic flow along the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila which can be likened to a “cross” being carried daily by motorists and commuters.


“Although suggestions from concerned sectors are welcome, it should be the MMDA which should find ways on how to ease the flow of traffic not only on a daily or weekly basis but on a more strategic level and this calls for a comprehensive but doable plan,” said Gatchalian, who is the senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development.


Concerned officials and agencies have been proposing various solutions to Metro Manila’s traffic woes, including the four-day work week for government offices in Metro Manila and the proposed ban of private vehicles along EDSA during the morning rush hour.

The Civil Service Commission or CSC has approved an optional four-day work week for government offices in Metro Manila.


Employees can be required to work from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with an hour off for lunch break.


Gatchalian said the proposed four-day work week for government offices in Metro Manila will have no impact on easing the traffic congestion since “70 percent of government employees work at the external services and very few work inside the offices.”


“The CSC should first conduct a very thorough survey and traffic impact analysis of the four-day work week before it pushes through with the supposed traffic-easing scheme,” he said.


Gatchalian also pointed out that the productivity of government employees will eventually suffer since they will practically be working 10 hours a day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and this will take its toll on their performance.


“The additional two hours of work is too much for an employee since the eight-hour work in a day was designed to get the optimum performance for a worker or employee. It’s like having a two-hour overtime for four straight days,” Gatchalian said.


Gatchalian cannot also see the logic on the proposal made by an official of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow only public utility vehicles (PUVs) on Edsa during the morning rush hour.


Under the said proposal, private vehicles would be barred from using the 24-kilometer Edsa from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on four weekdays, an arrangement that would require changing the current number coding scheme implemented by the MMDA.


“Band aid solutions cannot untangle the traffic jams in Metro Manila. A realistic and doable plan can help ease the problem. And part of the solution is an efficient mass transport system like the proposed BRT of Bus Rapid System,” Gatchalian said. (Monica Cantilero)