Manila, is a port city and the center of the metropolis. Being the central downtown of Metro Manila, the city necessarily gravitates people, trade and activities from all over the Philippines. Manila is one of the most important cities in Asia. Like any other urban center, it is highly populated and dense.
Metro Manila has a population density of 19,137 persons/sq.km. in 2010 based on news.yahoo.com (ranked 12th in the world).
Because of this, travel and transportation is a painful concern.The issues involved affects all commuters, transportation utilities and facilities, as well as the commuters and its stakeholders.
The traffic and commuting problem, was addressed successfully by Hon. Mayor Joseph Estrada and the dynamic Vice Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, by implementing their traffic plan. Their maverick move, benefited the commuting public and travelers within the city, in a seamless way.
We now experience that moving around Manila has become lighter, better and with a easy flow.
Today, the metropolis is served by the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT), the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
Manila may want to adopt the automated guideway transit system in UP Diliman will be the first of its kind in the Philippines, it will be developed within the campus of the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City and will serve as a test track for the first mass transit system to be built and developed in the country by local engineers.
For short trips, the ingenuity of Filipinos added the famous “kuliglig”, a hybrid of “padyak” or pedicab powered by multi-purpose diesel or gasoline engines usually used for small motor boats or “bangkas”.
From January – July 2013, car sales was increased by 15% with an estimate of 105,000 cars. Imagine one car’s length is 4.12 meters, will measure to 432,600 meters (432.6 km), equivalent to a two-way trip from Manila to Baguio.
Therefore, Senator Ralph Recto specified that in Metro Manila has only 197 km of road. It is one of the major reason why there is heavy traffic in Manila. The Land Administration Reform Bill (LAR Bill) stated that the 10 years old or older age vehicle limitation should be implemented especially on public vehicles like the dilapidated jeepneys or taxis.
Last August 1,2013, MMDA Chairman Francis M. Tolentino filed a petition with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for lower south-bound bus fares. The petition will greatly benefit commuters, who complained of the extra-cost going to the integrated terminals. With a shorter route coming and going to the terminals, and no user charges, the bus operators will save millions in operational cost expenses estimated at P2.9 million.
“Yung kapakanan naman ng mga pasahero na dapat makinabang sila doon sa pagkakaroon ng intergrated bus terminal dahil makakatipid yung mga bus operators,” Tolentino said. He added that the proposed 8% reduction in fares, is a reasonable amount from reduced operations cost. (Business World, The Nation)
Meanwhile, “Operation Goliath”, a joint-project of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), kicked off last July 31, 2013.
The project was created to ease the serious traffic congestion caused by the increasing numbers of colorum Public Utilitity Vehicles (PUVs). Led by LTFRB Chairman Winston M.Ginez and MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, 34 PUVs was impounded just on the first day of the operation.
“Through the cooperation with different government agencies, we are serious in our effort to curb illegitimate PUVs on the road,” Mr. Ginez said. He added that “Operation Goliath” will be implemented in other areas with the participation of other concerned agencies including the Philippine National Police- Highway Patrol Group and Land Transportation Office.
Commuters all over Metro Manila are aware that the traffic situation was a nightmare prior to the new traffic plan of Mayor Joseph Estrada. Vice Mayor Isko Moreno implemented the plan by directing the traffic personally.
According to Val G. Abelgas of globalbalita.com quoted “Arsenio Balisacan of Economic Planning Secretary, the Cabinet member who said poverty remains a major problem despite a hefty economic growth also revealed a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that the country loses P2.4 billion daily in potential income due to traffic congestion. The government has tapped JICA to help come up with a transportation development road map for the country.”
Aside from having plenty of vehicles that are not road-worthy with smoke belching buses and broken down jeepneys. Another very important concern of the riding public and commuters is the problem of safety, security, order and law enforcement.
There was a time when I was traveling from Plaza Lawton to Remedios Circle via M.H. Del Pilar, a woman seated in front of me pulled out a “balisong” or fan knife and said it was a hold-up. Luckily I was seated near the exit and by the time the lady thief could blink I jumped out of the jeepney thanks to my fast reflex I was saved from being stab.
Another experience is that once I rode a rusty, old jeepney, I stained my hands and clothes with rust, and my hands got scratched by a protruding spring from the seat. Jeepneys like this one, should be banned from the streets for they may endangered the lives of commuters.
It is sad to know that the jeepney commuters are vulnerable to this kind of criminals, thieves and robbers. The local government of Manila especially the Manila’s Finest police force, should put a stop to this “modus operandi” of criminals. We all dream and hope that the city of Manila be a safe, secured and comfortable city for travelers and commuters.
Parking is also another issue in Manila, there is not enough parking spaces for private vehicles and public utilities. Because of the scarcity for parking space, the people are forced to use sidewalks and streets in parking their vehicles. By doing so, the streets get clog and it causes more traffic.
Our suggestion is to utilize abandoned vacant lands and idle lots. The city government and private sector, will put into productive use the land, by building multilevel car parks with retail establishments. This will generate income, add value to the land improve revenue collection for the city. It will also beautify the city.
Last July 23, 2013, in a brilliant move, Mayor Joseph Estrada implemented the bus ban where in all provincial and city buses without terminals. He also prohibited provincial buses to pass through the busy streets of the capital city. The objective is to minimize the traffic within Manila.
I personally got positive feedbacks from ordinary citizens from Manila citing the big improvement in traffic. My staff Lambert Cabrera and John Paul Mendoza interviewed different jeepney drivers plying the Manila area and mostly mentioned an increase in passenger volume, higher income, smoother and faster travel time due to the bus ban.
Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso was designated as “traffic czar” by Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Vice Mayor Moreno is more familiar with the traffic concerns of the city, including the problem on illegal terminals. Vice Mayor Moreno, who will head the Manila Traffic Council, is supposed to address the city’s problems with traffic flow, illegal vendors and illegal terminals, among others.
For example, parking on the two streets is now restricted to one side only with traffic enforcers threatening to tow vehicles that violate the restriction. The measure has greatly improved traffic flow on the two streets even with the large number of jeepneys using the streets daily.
Furthermore, Mayor Joseph Estrada and Vice Mayor & Traffic Czar Isko Moreno in cooperation with MMDA, immediately cleared illegal sidewalk vendors along Raon, Blumentritt and Avenida Rizal.
Last August 8, 2013, Mayor Joseph Estrada, clad in a green military camouflage uniform personally led the Manila Administration in enforcing the ban on colorum buses in Manila. Together with Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno and Traffic Policemen, they waited at Welcone Rotonda, to apprehend violators.Mayor Estrada met with Ferdinand Topacio, who is said to represent some of the bus operators, and discuss the bus ban issue.
Mayor Estrada showed that his administration is very serious with his plan to solve the traffic problems of Manila, both by dialogue and strict implementation.
According to BBC news, Manila is currently ranked 3rd as the worst traffic jams from around the world. If we can solve or reduce the traffic issue in Manila, we can boost up our ratings at least at the top 50.
We congratulate and commend Mayor Joseph Estrada and Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso for their steadfast effort and political will in addressing and solving the traffic problems of the city of Manila. The effort jump-started the program of Metro Manila Development Authority to come up with a concerted effort together with all the mayors of Metro Manila in addressing the needs of the commuters as well as trying to solve the problems of traffic.
Our advice as consultants is to set up various terminal hubs, not only for buses but also for private vehicles, taxis, and SUVs. This could be a profitable venture levels, if these terminal hubs will be of multiple levels with retail and commercial establishments.
By doing so, private vehicles will have parking facilities, roads decongested and easier traveling within the city. In my proposal, together with Dra. Kirby Salvador, Fernando Camus, that idle lands should be converted as various terminal hubs for private vehicles. These multistorey car parks will eventually add value to the idle lands and beautify the city of manila with revitalized structures and transportation hubs.
It is of primarily importance that idle lands and abandoned properties should properly be utilized to add value and income for the city of Manila.
Source:wikipedia.org globalbalita.com http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19716687 newsinfo.inquirer.net isko moreno – philstar.com