Billions of Pesos Lost in Traffic; Legarda Pushes for Sustainable Transpo

January 24, 2017

As the country faces to lose six billion pesos daily due to the traffic jams in Metro Manila, Senator Loren Legarda is fervently pushing for the passage of a measure that promotes sustainable and alternative modes of transportation and other mobility options.

In filing Senate Bill No. 914, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that while the Philippines is being hailed as one of the fastest growing economies worldwide, the traffic congestion in the metro impairs the economy.

“It is estimated that we are currently losing about three billion pesos a day due to the traffic problem in Metro Manila and without intervention, this could rise to six billion pesos a day by 2030 as projected by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” she explained.

“Because of traffic, people spend so much time on the road, become less productive and more tired, and spend less time with their families. So it affects not only the economy, but also the health and personal relations of our people,” she added.

Legarda, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that the traffic congestion likewise aggravates the already huge contribution of the transport sector to carbon dioxide emissions. According to National Emissions Inventory in 2012, 85 percent of air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) comes from vehicles.

In line with this, the Senator has been promoting the road-sharing scheme to improve mobility and the quality of life of citizens as well as lessen air pollution.

In fact, in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016 and 2017, Legarda included a special provision under the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) budget that states that the amount appropriated for the transport and traffic management services shall also be used for road-sharing activities such as the promotion of non-motorized transport and conduct of programs and projects that are geared towards improving people mobility.

Legarda aims to institutionalize this under her proposed measure.

SBN 914 seeks to address these immediate traffic and transport issues through the establishment of an integrated and efficient transport system by stimulating health consciousness through a culture of walking and cycling and protecting the environment by subscribing to low-emission modes of transport.

Under the bill, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), in coordination with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), will come up with a roadmap for national and local transportation system to be adhered to at all levels throughout the country. It will include strategies relating to parking, public transport, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure. All of these will be contained in a Sustainable Transport Action Plan, which will also set out the actions required to achieve the mode shift target and emission standards set over a certain period of time.

The bill seeks to promote a shift towards public transportation as a primary mobility option to the public and encourages government to study various kinds of public transportation that are efficient and suitable to specific areas, such as a Bus Rapid Transit System and Water Ferry System.

To promote walking and cycling, the proposed measure also seeks to install walkways and provide bike lanes, bicycle parking spaces and bike racks.