‘Traffic costs P2.4B daily’

Neda chief cites Jica study for dev’t road map

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P2.4-BILLION TRAFFIC  Congested streets and traffic jams cost the country as much as P2.4 billion a day in lost productivity and potential income, according to a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Jica has been tapped by the government to come up with a transportation development road map for the Philippines. JOAN BONDOC

If time is money, then the Philippines is losing P2.4 billion a day in potential income due to traffic congestion that eats up time that could have been used for productive pursuits, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

Balisacan, National Economic Development Authority (Neda) chief, was quoting a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) that the government has tapped to help come up with a transportation development road map for the country.

“It’s a no-brainer that we need to boost infrastructure. We have a huge backlog in almost all types of infrastructure,” Balisacan said, adding that the government intends to invest in more roads, bridges, railways, airports, and sea ports during the remainder of President Benigno Aquino III’s term.

Compared with neighboring countries, the Philippines spends significantly less on public infrastructure at only 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012, against the 5 percent average spending in other Southeast Asian countries.

Balisacan said that the Aquino administration wants to boost public infrastructure spending to at least 5 percent of GDP by 2016 to compete with other countries for foreign investments.

Earlier this week, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the government intends to increase its budget for infrastructure from about P400 billion last year to at least P800 billion in 2016, to reach the target of 5-percent infra spending to GDP ratio.

Fast-track projects

Abad said the government has embarked on an infrastructure rationalization plan under which government processes are streamlined to fast-track infrastructure projects.

“We are accelerating our infrastructure spending and adjusting procedures to ensure (the) timely implementation of infrastructure projects and to improve the absorptive capacity of government agencies,” Abad told the Inquirer.

Absorptive capacity refers to the capability of government agencies to spend allocated funds on time.

One administrative reform that the budget secretary cited is the adoption of the advance procurement system that would allow line agencies to start procuring goods and services needed for infrastructure projects scheduled for 2014.

Payment processes

Another reform, Abad said, is the streamlining of payment processes to help government agencies settle their obligations to contractors and suppliers within a shorter period of time.

The budget chief also said that the President has instructed the Department of Public Works and Highways to take over the supervision of infrastructure projects of other government agencies—such as health facilities under the Department of Health—to help complete them within a shorter time frame.

“There is a huge room for increased infrastructure spending, and we want to maximize it,” Abad said.

The Department of Budget and Management on Friday reported that public infrastructure spending rose year on year by 35.6 percent to reach P104.6 billion from January to May this year. The amount was equivalent to 2.6 percent of estimated GDP for the period.

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  • The Factory

    Just some supplemental ideas:

    AERIAL TRAMS/TRAMWAYS, CABLE CARS

    MOVING WALKWAYS/SIDEWALKS

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    There are lots of ideas to relieve the traffic congestions if MMDA planners are not dumb donkeys.

    LRT & MRT must be extended. all stations must have paid parking lot or make an incentives for commuters to leave their vehicle park close to public transportation . There should be a bypass highway for commuters not going to metro Manila.

    I think Japanese or foreign planners are better that Pinoy traffic planners.

  • Josephus Magallanes

    Kino-consider rin ang pagbawas ng numbers of cars on the road. Magandang idea yan, sobrang dami na kasing car users ngayon.

  • Omar Cortez

    Pero maraming mga infrastructure projects ang Aquino administration na
    makakatulong sa problema sa traffic. It will help.

  • Romel Tamayo

    Wala kasing political will ang past administrations para solusyunan ang problema sa traffic, ngayon lang sa PNoy admin.

  • RN-EMT.PH

    in my opinion… it would be better if we create a rotational schedule of offices, both public and private. first shift would be 6am-3pm, 2nd shift would be on 9am-6pm… commuters will be divided, and so will the road users. an additional bill to the electricity though, but i believe lesser on the traffic.

  • Commentator

    “the Philippines spends significantly less on public infrastructure at only 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012″

    you think the budget is not enough? how about making sure that the budget goes to infra projects instead of going to the pockets of the corrupt and useless fcks?

    increasing the budgets means increasing the money that will be stolen.

  • Juan dela Cruz

    Finally, this problem landed on the headlines. This has been perpetual trouble. A couple of decades ago I heard from a report that an ordinary Metro Manila resident travels 4 to 5 hours a day. The suggestions below are on target, but it will be like pushing a boulder up a hill if we wait or try to convince government or companies to invest or build. That’s why the Pinoy will have to deal with this headache individually. Plan and travel while it’s early or maybe transfer to a place near your work or school. We have to be practical.

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