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Workers ‘crying for solution’ to Metro traffic mess

/ 05:32 AM November 29, 2019

The Management Association of the Philippines, often very formal in its public statements, has let out its frustration over the traffic in Metro Manila, telling the government that each grueling day leaves the workers of its member firms “crying for a solution.”

The traffic in Metro Manila affects everyone, rich and poor. MAP is the first business group to complain about the traffic that is getting worse this holiday season. “The Management Association of the Philippines begs the authorities to do something about the horrendous daily traffic in the metropolis,” the group said in a statement on Thursday.

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MAP said it was directly affected because the employees of its members have been complaining about their difficulties.The latest assessment of the traffic cost dates back to 2017, when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said that the traffic in Metro Manila cost P3.5 billion a day, higher than the P2.4 billion estimated back in 2012.

The traffic cost, however, which took into consideration the value of time lost in traffic and fuel costs, could not account for the daily frustration of waking up early in the morning just to arrive late for work.

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MAP even suggested that retail goods would be cheaper if it were not for the traffic.

Citing an international company in the global supply chain, MAP said transport costs normally account for only 16 percent of the total cost of a product from a manufacturing facility to a retail store. But in Metro Manila, MAP estimated that it accounted for 25 to 29 percent of the cost.

It might even be higher for rice, MAP said, because there were other factors behind the retail price of rice as it is sourced from the provinces and transported to Metro Manila.

Perhaps, MAP said, the traffic could even take up as high as 40 percent of the cost in rice. Reducing the transport cost from 40 percent to 25 percent would result in the 60 percent reduction in the cost of rice, MAP said, from P35 a kilo to P14.

“An impossible dream? Perhaps, but worth fighting for as one can imagine the increase in productivity, the improvement in the quality of life for the commuter while also bringing down the cost of food to a level accessible to many more persons,” MAP said.

MAP also recommended nine measures to the government, which ranged from general suggestions such as an “honest-to-goodness enforcement” to specific ones.

One of its recommendations is to remove the number coding scheme for public utility vehicles (PUVs) during rush hours so that people would be more encouraged to use public transport rather than private vehicles.

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“It is absurd that the Number Coding applies to PUVs, considering that hundreds of thousands of commuters are lining up starting at 5:30 AM and as late as 9:30 PM. Authorities must do within its current powers to give priority to commuters rather than save the motorists from traffic,” MAP said.

While there is no data to show if the traffic costs have gone higher this 2019, the traffic does feel worse for commuters every day. Jica previously estimated that the traffic cost could go as high as P5.4 billion a day in 2035.The traffic issue has been one of the promises of President Duterte during his presidential campaign, when he promised— but later failed— to solve the crisis within six months.

MAP also called for accountability on the part of traffic enforcers as it recommended assigning a “special (mobile) task force to unclog chokepoints along critical routes.”

“There must be accountability. Traffic supervisors failing to do their job must be yanked out and replaced. Unless this is done, the bad practices will continue with impunity,” said MAP.

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TAGS: Management Association of the Philippines, Metro Manila, traffic
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