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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

ALMENDRAS NEW TRAFFIC CZAR
[
Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras is turning out to be President Aquino’s troubleshooter]


SEPT 5 -ALMENDRAS: THANKLESS JOB – Not many are about to envy Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras. Daily gridlock a big test for PNoy’s troubleshooter -With no clear solution in sight for the worsening traffic problem, particularly in Metro Manila, Malacañang is pinning its hopes on the managerial skills of Almendras to solve or at least ease the gridlock by designating him as the country’s traffic czar. Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said Almendras has been assigned to make sure the government’s traffic management plans in Metro Manila will be in synch and effectively address the gridlock. “Sec. Almendras will be coordinating the actions of agencies who are involved in the whole of government approach to easing traffic,” Valte said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin. Earlier when the government was facing port congestion problems, President Aquino tapped Almendras to supervise government action. There was, however, no formal order or appointment that designates Almendras as the new traffic czar in charge of solving Metro Manila’s traffic woes. Valte explained that as Cabinet Secretary, Almendras is already tasked to coordinate “inter-agency concerns” such as the port congestion issue in the past. “He is now coordinating Cabinet action on easing the Metro Manila traffic situation,” she added. Almendras’ latest traffic management duty comes after the country ranked fifth in the world in the list of countries with worse traffic situation. The Philippines earned 201.31 points, with an average travel time of 46.09 minutes based on the latest Traffic Index report conducted by Numbeo. READ MORE...RELATED....

ALSO: Palace junks need for czar despite worsening traffic


SEPTEMBER 6 -Castelo to PNoy: Name Almendras 'traffic point czar -
Malacañang yesterday maintained that there is no need to seat a traffic czar, noting that unified action and integrated planning would do the job even as traffic continues to worsen in Metro Manila even ranking fifth worst worldwide. Presidential Communications Sec. Hermio Coloma Jr., in a regular interview with Radyo ng Bayan, ditched calls anew for President Aquino to appoint Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras as traffic czar. While Coloma noted the gravity of the traffic situation as an issue, he reiterated that Almendras’ job is to coordinate Cabinet secretaries’ work, which by part has included traffic as well. “We are not focused on just giving titles. The most important thing here is what concrete action must be done or how to coordinate all actions, and actions, and these are all well-coordinated at the Cabinet level, and it is Secretary Almendras as Cabinet Secretary who does this,” Coloma said. Coloma said it would be wise to evaluate the situation and understand major problems such as traffic and solve it through execution of action plans. “It is more important for us to examine how different agencies coordinate and how they cooperate, along with the stakeholders in civil society, business community, port users, road users and citizens. We are all concerned and involved in solving the problem,” he said.
Calls for Almendras to be appointed as traffic czar banked over his stint in handling the port congestion problem. But the Management Association of the Philippines said Almendras’ job to coordinate may not be enough. It noted there is a need for a traffic czar that would enjoy executive power. Recently, Serbia-based think tank Numbeo noted the Philippines for its jump in the rankings of countries with worst traffic, as per its Midyear Traffic Index, from ninth in January 2015 to fifth in June in the same year. READ MORE...

ALSO: Senate hearing set on traffic woes


SEPTEMBER 6 -Senate. Philstar.com /File
The Senate committee on economic affairs is set to conduct an inquiry tomorrow into the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila in a bid to come up with solutions to the problem. Committee chair 
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV recently filed a resolution calling for the inquiry in light of the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila and its adverse impact on the economy. In his resolution, Aquino noted the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in spite of being the lead agency on traffic management, couldn’t solve the problem alone. He said the MMDA should be assisted by other agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). “There is a need to review the ‘Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas’ that was approved last year. Needless to state, commuters as well as private vehicle owners suffer monstrous and extremely costly traffic everyday in Metro Manila,” Aquino said. “The relevant government agencies, together with the local government units, should be able to provide effective transportation planning strategies and traffic management system in order to improve the traffic conditions in Metro Manila,” he added. Citing a recent World Bank study, Aquino noted that the population density in the country’s urban areas, particularly Metro Manila, has been increasing significantly since 2010 with no signs of slowing down. READ MORE...

ALSO Edsa showdown: Burly traffic cops gear up vs hard-headed drivers


SEPTEMBER 7 -The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has welcomed the order of President Benigno Aquino III for the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to takeover the traffic management along the stretch of EDSA. PHOTO FROM PHILSTAR
THE Philippine National Police will be fielding 150 of its Highway Patrol Group policemen on Edsa as the PNP attempts to manage the horrendous traffic on the main thoroughfare. PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez himself will brief the HPG policemen at Camp Crame at 4:30 a.m. Monday before the policemen are deployed to chokepoints on the highway. HPG spokesperson Supt. Oliver Tanseco said the public should expect a stricter enforcement of traffic laws as they take over the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s duties on Edsa.“There will be zero tolerance in the implementation of traffic rules. There will be no new laws or rules. We will simply strictly implement the existing traffic laws,” said the police official. READ MORE...

ALSO Standard Editorial: What good is a straight path if traffic is not moving?
[The President has done nothing to spell out what straight path behavior consists of, or what the principles to follow are.
He could say that the straight path is following the Ten Commandments. But that will not solve the traffic mess.
It’s the system, stupid]



SLOWLY and inexorably, the Aquino government, by its failure to help solve the problems of daily life, is driving many of us into impossible and desperate straits. Confronted by a traffic jam that wouldn’t budge, Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales alighted from his vehicle and decided to unlock the jam and direct the traffic himself. He succeeded in untangling the mess. Stung by his example and hoping to earn pogi points, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino came out of his foxhole the other day to face up to his responsibilities for the crazy traffic situation in the metropolis. He decided to direct traffic himself and don the cap of traffic enforcers. He thought he would endear himself to voters, because he has plans to run for the Senate in 2016. He got catcalls instead. An official equally responsible for the traffic situation is Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. It did not occur to him to play traffic enforcer. Given his history of indifference, he probably did not even notice Cardinal Rosales’s act of taking traffic woes into his own hands. A government that doesn’t think very muchThe problem as we see it is not just absent, incompetent and insensitive government officials. We think the problem is a government and a leadership that doesn’t think very much.First, ordinary citizens are asking this zen-like question: Of what good is having a straight path, as President Aquino keeps on preaching, if the traffic is not moving? Where are they going to go? READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Almendras new traffic czar?

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras is turning out to be President Aquino’s troubleshooter.

 
ALMENDRAS: THANKLESS JOB – Not many are about to envy Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras. Daily gridlock a big test for PNoy’s troubleshooter

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Genalyn Kabiling -With no clear solution in sight for the worsening traffic problem, particularly in Metro Manila, Malacañang is pinning its hopes on the managerial skills of Almendras to solve or at least ease the gridlock by designating him as the country’s traffic czar.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said Almendras has been assigned to make sure the government’s traffic management plans in Metro Manila will be in synch and effectively address the gridlock.

“Sec. Almendras will be coordinating the actions of agencies who are involved in the whole of government approach to easing traffic,” Valte said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.

Earlier when the government was facing port congestion problems, President Aquino tapped Almendras to supervise government action.

There was, however, no formal order or appointment that designates Almendras as the new traffic czar in charge of solving Metro Manila’s traffic woes.

Valte explained that as Cabinet Secretary, Almendras is already tasked to coordinate “inter-agency concerns” such as the port congestion issue in the past. “He is now coordinating Cabinet action on easing the Metro Manila traffic situation,” she added.

Almendras’ latest traffic management duty comes after the country ranked fifth in the world in the list of countries with worse traffic situation. The Philippines earned 201.31 points, with an average travel time of 46.09 minutes based on the latest Traffic Index report conducted by Numbeo.

Valte, however, remains confident that the country’s traffic situation will improve “soon” amid the implementation of government measures to reduce congestion.

READ MORE...


President Aquino’s acknowledged ‘troubleshooter,’ after he was named traffic czar to ‘coordinate the actions of agencies who are involved in the whole of government approach to easing traffic.’ Almendras’ appointment came on the heels of the President’s order to deploy the PNP Highway Patrol Group on EDSA which continued to reel from horrendous traffic as can be seen in this photo at the Kamuning-EDSA intersection. (Richard V. Viñas and Jun Ryan Aranas)

“The efforts to improve traffic are ongoing, and hopefully we will begin to see results soon,” she said.

Almendras, a known close friend of President Aquino, previously served as secretary of the Department of Energy. Before joining government, he was president of Manila Water, a firm associated with the Ayala group.

Earlier, the Management Association of the Philippines urged President Aquino to appoint Almendras as the person in charge of matters related to traffic management in Metro Manila.

The group said the traffic czar must be authorized to deputize, coordinate, and prevail over government agencies in implementing traffic and road management plans.

Before Almendras was designated traffic czar, the President tapped the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to be the lead traffic law enforcement agency along EDSA.

Aquino directed the HPG, with the support of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Land Transportation Office, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board personnel, to strictly enforce traffic rules and clear six major intersections or “choke points” along EDSA.

The choke points are located on Balintawak, Cubao, Ortigas Avenue, Shaw Boulevard, Guadalupe, and Taft Avenue.

-------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Palace rejects appeals to appoint traffic czar By Sandy Araneta, Darwin G. Amojelar | Sep. 05, 2015 at 12:01am


Almendras

MALACAÑANG once again rejected on Friday the call of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) to appoint a traffic czar in order to resolve worsening traffic problems, not only in Metro Manila but all over the country.

“As Cabinet Secretary, Secretary [Jose Rene] Almendras is tasked with coordinating inter-agency concerns. As he did with respect to the port congestion issue, he is now coordinating Cabinet action on easing the Metro Manila traffic situation,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., said.

But the Management Association of the Philippines said the problem is not limited to Metro Manila, but in other key cities as well.

“We are seeing traffic congestion in just about everywhere, even in Cebu, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Baguio, Davao, and Zamboanga,” said Eduardo H. Yap, chairman of the MAP’s traffic, transportation and infrastructure committee.

“Traffic is not just a problem of residents in Metro Manila, but is beginning to affect even those cities in the provinces. Let’s nip this in the bud as early as now,” Yap added.

Yap said MAP believes that although Almendras has been assigned to take charge, an important component of such a plan is the appointment of a single point of authority, such as a traffic czar, duly empowered by the President.

“We need a traffic czar not just to serve as a coordinator of different agencies working together to ease traffic flow, but one who is empowered to exercise executive powers to mobilize resources of the different national government agencies in order to expeditiously and effectively implement measures to provide the earliest relief from traffic congestion gripping the capital city. Title is everything to many. A mere coordinator is an invitation to be ignored,” Yap said.

In addition, the MAP recommends that concrete lane delineators be quickly installed at all bus stops along the entire stretch of Edsa to ensure efficient traffic flow without need for much human intervention. This will spare HPG troopers to supervise other critical hotspots, such as the problematic Edsa-Taft Avenue and Gil Puyat Ave-Taft junctions.

The coverage of the presidential directive must be expanded to include C5, which is the second most important circumferential road that provides an alternate route to relieve traffic load from EDSA, and to other national roads, such as Katipunan and Commonwealth avenues.

Equally important are radial roads that intersect EDSA. They are important branch network of EDSA that allows circulation and distribution of traffic. These radial roads must be included in the directive. They include Gil Puyat, Shaw Blvd., Ortigas Avenue, E. Rodriguez, among others.

“Solving this humongous traffic problem necessitates collective action. There should be symmetry of actions. Government must know what its left hand is doing. Without a comprehensive traffic management plan, traffic woes would still haunt us even after two or three years from now and we cannot be made to suffer for that long. Let’s unite, and solve this traffic congestion problem ASAP.”

The MAP believes that these measures to manage and solve the traffic management problems of Metro Manila must also reach other metropolitan cities throughout the archipelago where signs of traffic congestion have appeared and begging for solutions as well.

Yap believes that the President has enough powers to write an Executive Order and appoint a traffic czar whose office will serve as the nerve center of all public and private efforts in managing and solving the traffic management problems not just in Metro Manila, but in other metropolitan cities.


TRIBUNE

Palace junks need for czar despite worsening traffic
Written by Joshua L. Labonera Sunday, 06 September 2015 00:00


LOGO OF P-NOY ADMIN's MALACANAN PALACE

Malacañang yesterday maintained that there is no need to seat a traffic czar, noting that unified action and integrated planning would do the job even as traffic continues to worsen in Metro Manila even ranking fifth worst worldwide.

Presidential Communications Sec. Hermio Coloma Jr., in a regular interview with Radyo ng Bayan, ditched calls anew for President Aquino to appoint Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras as traffic czar.

While Coloma noted the gravity of the traffic situation as an issue, he reiterated that Almendras’ job is to coordinate Cabinet secretaries’ work, which by part has included traffic as well.

“We are not focused on just giving titles. The most important thing here is what concrete action must be done or how to coordinate all actions, and actions, and these are all well-coordinated at the Cabinet level, and it is Secretary Almendras as Cabinet Secretary who does this,” Coloma said.

Coloma said it would be wise to evaluate the situation and understand major problems such as traffic and solve it through execution of action plans.

“It is more important for us to examine how different agencies coordinate and how they cooperate, along with the stakeholders in civil society, business community, port users, road users and citizens. We are all concerned and involved in solving the problem,” he said.

Calls for Almendras to be appointed as traffic czar banked over his stint in handling the port congestion problem.

But the Management Association of the Philippines said Almendras’ job to coordinate may not be enough. It noted there is a need for a traffic czar that would enjoy executive power.

Recently, Serbia-based think tank Numbeo noted the Philippines for its jump in the rankings of countries with worst traffic, as per its Midyear Traffic Index, from ninth in January 2015 to fifth in June in the same year.

READ MORE...

Tomorrow, the Philippine National Police’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) will be the lead enforcer of traffic rules to remove chokepoints along EDSA.

The PNP will concentrate on easing six chokepoints in EDSA such as Balintawak, Cubao, Ortigas, Shaw Boulevard, Guadalupe, and Taft Avenue going to Roxas Blvd. in Pasay.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has started its work, Coloma said, putting up markers and concrete dividers, for dedicated bus lanes.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and DPWH are already clearing sidewalks to remove obstructions and barriers.

MMDA traffic enforcers, who previously manned EDSA, will be transferred to Roxas Boulevard, C-5 and other major thoroughfares, Coloma said.

Some MMDA traffic enforcers will be retained in EDSA to help the Highway Patrol Group in decongesting the identified major chokepoints along the major thoroughfare.

Also, traffic enforcers from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as well as from Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will assist in managing EDSA


PHILSTAR

Senate hearing set on traffic woes By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 6, 2015 - 12:00am 1 11 googleplus0 0


Senate. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee on economic affairs is set to conduct an inquiry tomorrow into the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila in a bid to come up with solutions to the problem.

Committee chair 
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV recently filed a resolution calling for the inquiry in light of the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila and its adverse impact on the economy.

In his resolution, Aquino noted the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in spite of being the lead agency on traffic management, couldn’t solve the problem alone. He said the MMDA should be assisted by other agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

“There is a need to review the ‘Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas’ that was approved last year. Needless to state, commuters as well as private vehicle owners suffer monstrous and extremely costly traffic everyday in Metro Manila,” Aquino said.

“The relevant government agencies, together with the local government units, should be able to provide effective transportation planning strategies and traffic management system in order to improve the traffic conditions in Metro Manila,” he added.

Citing a recent World Bank study, Aquino noted that the population density in the country’s urban areas, particularly Metro Manila, has been increasing significantly since 2010 with no signs of slowing down.

READ MORE...

A separate study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) noted that without intervention, traffic costs will likely increase to P6 billion a day from the current P2.4 billion.

The preliminary analysis made by JICA showed that average low-income group households have to spend no less than 20 percent of their monthly household income for transport.

According to the study, without intervention, traffic demand will likely increase by 13 percent by 2030 and transport cost will be 2.5 times higher.

Officials from the DPWH and DOTC, along with Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) are expected to attend the Senate hearing.

Also expected to the attend the hearing are representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority, the Confederation of Truckers, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the American Chamber of Commerce and Uber.

Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras would not be able to attend the hearing.

Almendras was tasked by President Aquino to coordinate all efforts to address all traffic concerns.

All hands on deck Malacañang, however, assured all hands are on deck to solve the worsening traffic problems starting tomorrow.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there might be no traffic czar designated officially but the traffic woes were being tackled at Cabinet level in coordination with all stakeholders.

Almendras, for his part, added he was tasked to coordinate inter-agency concerns as he did with respect to the port congestion issue.

Almendras said he was now in charge of harmonizing Cabinet action to ease Metro Manila traffic situation but was not given any special designation as traffic czar.

“It’s okay. Even without a title, we will work to solve the problem,” Almendras said in a text message.

Coloma said the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) tomorrow would take over the MMDA’s role and start manning traffic in various chokepoints along EDSA to improve traffic flow in the area.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino welcomed the move.

“I certainly welcome HPG to take the lead in managing EDSA. It’s all about cooperation among government agencies to better supervise vehicular flow on the busiest route in Metro Manila,” Tolentino said.

The DPWH, led by Secretary Rogelio Singson, has also been doing “traffic engineering” such as placing markers and concrete dividers on the roads for dedicated bus lanes or “yellow lanes.”

Coloma said the DPWH and the MMDA had also been clearing sidewalks that had been occupied by illegal vendors. He said the sidewalks must also safe for pedestrians.

He said various departments and agencies would help deal with the traffic concerns and MMDA traffic enforcers along EDSA would be deployed in Roxas Boulevard, C-3 and other major thoroughfares to ease congestion since the HPG would take over EDSA.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino announced enforcers from LTO and the LTFRB would assist in ensuring smooth traffic flow.

Coloma said provincial and city bus operators were also cooperating in finding solutions to traffic congestion.

Coloma said the President was giving priority to traffic concerns and Almendras was tapped because of the need for “Cabinet-level coordination and integration” like what was done when there was port congestion.

In situations involving big and complicated problems like traffic, Coloma said it would be best to have a unified action and integrated planning and execution of action plans rather than focus on “the boss.”

“The real bosses here anyway are the Filipino people that the government serves," Coloma said.

He added the consultations with various stakeholders were important, particularly civil society, business community, port users and other road users.

Almendras, along with LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez, HPG chief Director General Arnold Gunnacao and LTO Law Enforcement Service chief Roque Versoza Jr. made consultation meetings with provincial and city bus operators yesterday.

Provincial buses banned on EDSA LTFRB board member Ariel Inton said they have discussed with the transport operators the role of the HPG, MMDA, LTO and LTFRB in the implementation of a tighter traffic scheme.

The LTFRB said provincial buses going southbound would be banned from EDSA during morning rush hour beginning tomorrow.

Inton said provincial buses bound for Batangas, Laguna, Bicol and Visayas coming from their terminals in Cubao and Kamuning will take P. Tuazon, C-5, and then proceed to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) from 6:00 am to 9:00 from Monday to Friday, except weekends and holidays.

He said provincial buses could use EDSA from 9:00 a.m. onwards.

Inton added they would also strictly implement the yellow lanes along EDSA for passenger buses except for private vehicles turning left or right to exit.

Bus drivers, on the other hand, said it would be difficult for them to take the new route. A bus driver, who requested anonymity, admitted that the new route he will be taking is unfamiliar to him.

Inton, however, assured deputized agents of the LTO, LTFRB and MMDA would guide them accordingly to their destination.

Inton warned that a hefty P1-million penalty would be imposed on erring bus drivers defying the new traffic scheme.

He said buses who will be plying EDSA during the times they are prohibited will be considered as out-of-line or colorum.

Inton, however, clarified the P1-million penalty is only applicable if apprehending officers are the deputized agents of the LTFRB and the LTO. If the apprehending officers will use the MMDA’s ticket, the penalty would be only P6,000. – With Aurea Calica, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mike Frialde, Robertzon Ramirez


INQUIRER

Edsa showdown: Burly traffic cops gear up vs hard-headed drivers By: Julie M. Aurelio @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 05:16 PM September 6th, 2015


The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has welcomed the order of President Benigno Aquino III for the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to takeover the traffic management along the stretch of EDSA. PHOTO FROM PHILSTAR

THE Philippine National Police will be fielding 150 of its Highway Patrol Group policemen on Edsa as the PNP attempts to manage the horrendous traffic on the main thoroughfare.

PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez himself will brief the HPG policemen at Camp Crame at 4:30 a.m. Monday before the policemen are deployed to chokepoints on the highway.

HPG spokesperson Supt. Oliver Tanseco said the public should expect a stricter enforcement of traffic laws as they take over the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s duties on Edsa.

“There will be zero tolerance in the implementation of traffic rules. There will be no new laws or rules. We will simply strictly implement the existing traffic laws,” said the police official.

READ MORE...

In recent months, traffic jams along Edsa and other main roads have gotten worse, causing massive inconvenience to motorists and commuters not only during rush hour, but at all times of the day.

The move to have the HPG handle the worsening traffic situation on Edsa is the government’s latest attempt at finding a solution to the problem.

The HPG earlier bared its plans to field big, burly traffic policemen to six chokepoints along Edsa to “scare” even the most hard-headed motorist into not violating traffic laws.

The HPG’s 150 policemen will be assigned to six key points along Edsa – Balintawak, Cubao, Ortigas Avenue, Shaw Boulevard, Guadalupe and Taft Avenue.

Originally, the HPG planned to deploy just 96 officers but Tanseco said they increased the deployment to 150 after a recent assessment.

“We conducted dry runs, and saw the need for more policemen. We saw that there are many entry and exit points at the chokepoints, so we added more policemen. We might add more,” Tanseco said.

The public can expect to see the policemen on their patrol cars and motorcycles, doing their job as early as 5 a.m.

Tanseco added that the HPG will be on Edsa 24/7, with the deployment based on shifts and on the traffic situation on the ground.


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

What good is a straight path if traffic is not moving?
August 27, 2015 11:30 pm

SLOWLY and inexorably, the Aquino government, by its failure to help solve the problems of daily life, is driving many of us into impossible and desperate straits.
Confronted by a traffic jam that wouldn’t budge, Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales alighted from his vehicle and decided to unlock the jam and direct the traffic himself. He succeeded in untangling the mess.

Stung by his example and hoping to earn pogi points, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino came out of his foxhole the other day to face up to his responsibilities for the crazy traffic situation in the metropolis. He decided to direct traffic himself and don the cap of traffic enforcers. He thought he would endear himself to voters, because he has plans to run for the Senate in 2016. He got catcalls instead.

An official equally responsible for the traffic situation is Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. It did not occur to him to play traffic enforcer. Given his history of indifference, he probably did not even notice Cardinal Rosales’s act of taking traffic woes into his own hands.

A government that doesn’t think very much

The problem as we see it is not just absent, incompetent and insensitive government officials. We think the problem is a government and a leadership that doesn’t think very much.

First, ordinary citizens are asking this zen-like question: Of what good is having a straight path, as President Aquino keeps on preaching, if the traffic is not moving? Where are they going to go?

READ MORE...

One columnist of this paper found this novel solution to the traffic gridlock. He and his family simply decided to boycott the traffic. They don’t go out in the family car or ride public transport. They just subsist at home on the Internet and television and DVDs. But we have to realize that that is a sacrifice that they are forced to make because the Aquino government is so ineffective.

Second, if the leadership will only think, it will realize that “straight path” is logically a guidepost for public conduct for public servants and citizens alike. And that should include President Aquino himself.

The President has done nothing to spell out what straight path behavior consists of, or what the principles to follow are.

He could say that the straight path is following the Ten Commandments. But that will not solve the traffic mess.
It’s the system, stupid

The really important insight that the government must comprehend is that what we face in the traffic situation in Metro Manila is a system breakdown. The system of roads, public and private transport is not working; it is totally out of balance. Government is out of its depth in coping with the challenge.

Throwing officials under the bus is easy to say, although it’s probably part of the answer.

What is essential is coming up with a workable plan – a plan developed by real professionals and experts.

Cardinal Rosales’s example is an instructive one in terms of showing that people responsible must roll up their sleeves and do the job. It does not cancel the need for an expert and professional solution.

Many have intoned no end that the traffic gridlock in the metropolis is costing the economy P2.4 billion a day.

They have cited a study entitled “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Surrounding Areas” conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in coordination with our government agencies.

The study says that lower-income households are the hardest hit by traffic congestion, and will remain so up to 2030 when they will spend no less than 20 percent of their income for transport.

Perhaps the better thing to do is for Aquino and his officials to do serious work and stop talking about their straight path, which is not straight at all.

9 Responses to What good is a straight path if traffic is not moving?
Tricycle Driver says:
September 6, 2015 at 9:23 am
It’s sad and frustrating that the presidential candidates are silent on the traffic issue. What are their short and long term solutions to this problem?
Manila Times can do a special on this by interviewing the candidates and putting their feet to the fire.
Reply
Antonio Habana says:
September 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm
For a truly ‘straight path’ government to work, the leader must first have a good idea just what the straight path is. It means appointing competent cabinet secretaries. It means punishing those who don’t do their job. It means enforcing the law. This administration has failed on all those three counts, steadfastly defending the unqualified party allies it appointed to Cabinet posts, while those supposed to uphold the law suddenly develop selective justice. If there is one word to characterize the Aquino administration it is LAZY. It not only refuses to upset the status quo it put in place, it also refuses to act on matters that would prevent problems like traffic in the future, like sitting on PPP infrastructure projects like the NLEX-SLEX Connector road that was ready since 2013 but only approved this year, to name only one.
Reply
WORRIEDPINOY says:
August 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm
You have to fire ABAYA na pabaya sa tungkulin. AYUSIN ang Mass Transit System, pero ibigay ang trabaho sa tunay na nakakaintindi at handang gawin ang karapat dapat sa problema ,Huwag na huwag ipahawakan o i-award ang project sa KKK. KUNDI SAYANG LAMANG ANG PERA NG BAYAN.
Reply
Pnoy Abnoy says:
August 29, 2015 at 1:24 am
Pre ang sinasabi kong tuwd na daan ay yong daan ng lolo ko. ang trapik dyan sa atin ay panahon pa ni kopong kopong.di dapat tayo magugulat kung trapik kasi yan ang tatak natin noypi.pinapangalagaan lang ni PnoyAbnoy ang tatak natin mga noypi,sayang di tayo nasa ginis bok ob rekords.
Reply
boyet m. says:
August 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm
Slogan lang yan ng mga taong may makitid at manhid na utak
Reply
Ana Duran says:
August 28, 2015 at 9:20 am
huwag na kayong umangal basta ang mahalaga ay matuwid ang daan na tinatahak natin…..kung nagugutom dahil sa kahirapan…konting tiis at busy pa sa paglalaro si Noynoy ng video games…at saka kailangan niya ng mahabang panahon para pagisipan kung anong solusyon sa mga prolema…
Reply
Thai anton says:
August 28, 2015 at 9:08 am
Obviously our government opisyal dont F-ing care about the commuting public , they have to no idea what people feel ,total lack of empathy .
In the US of A time is money , I drive 80 miles to work ,and another 80
Miles to go back home and I do it in total of 3 hours , 1 hour 30 minutes one way and another 1 hour 30 minutes drive back home , thats equivalent to taking a bagiuo trip every day !! Kung sa pilipinas yun naka stuck pa rin ako sa Edsa . Time is money
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jesus nazario says:
August 28, 2015 at 7:24 am
What tuwid na daan ? Ni wala nga tayong daan or path or direction as a nation. Yung tuwid pa ? Maybe a good slogan for any of the other (than Roxas) presidential aspirants can be “Walang traffic na daan.” At least measurable and visible yon. Eh yung Tuwd na daan, ano yon talaga ? Object ba yon ? Animal ?, Ulam ? Tao ? Kasuotan ? Borloloy ? Building ? Ano ? Sirit na Mr. Henyo ! “Tuwid na daan” is a myth, an ungraspable vapor so immeasurable, so an unmanageable whatever-it-is. So what good can we expect form it ? wala, zilch, zero, nada, except a sickening propaganda.connoting nothing.
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Leodegardo Pruna says:
August 28, 2015 at 8:23 am
Katotohanan lamang ang isinulat mo.


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