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Riding public should have a choice - Gordon



With monstrous traffic being a perennial problem in Metro Manila and in other cities in the country, Senator Richard J. Gordon said the public should not be penalized for being entrepreneurial in addressing this long-time woe.

"According to reports, Metro Manila's traffic congestion problem may be the worst in the world. Traffic is really so bad that when I was in a school in San Francisco Del Monte in Bulacan, I asked a teacher why a young girl was allowed to go home at noon. She told me that the girl had to prepare lunch for her younger siblings since their parents only go home from work during the weekends to save time and money. Our current traffic woes leave the public without or with very limited choices. Hence, they turn to motorcycle taxis - because they are faster and cheaper too. Motorcycle taxis are used in other countries too, like Indonesia," he noted.

Gordon said the public must be afforded choice on how they will do their daily commute to ease the stress they suffer, however, he underlined the need to provide a legal framework that would allow motorcycle taxis to work but can be adequately regulated with emphasis on safety, comfort and security of the passengers.

He explained that drivers should wear helmets and jackets printed with the driver's name and the company name. Insurance should also be provided.

The senator also cautioned that allowing motorcycle taxis to operate is only an interim solution, adding that the focus should be on the real solution to the traffic congestion, which is to decongest Manila.

"We can decongest Manila by dispersing industries to the countryside, spreading development and economic opportunities by attracting investors to nearby provinces such as those in Central Luzon, and maximizing the use of available infrastructures such as airports, seaports and a network of highways to expedite movement of goods, raw materials and manpower," Gordon said.

"With the vast idle lands in the region, we can create zones for investment, industries, factories, tourism, even improved agriculture or housing for employees, for schools, hospitals, churches, supermarkets and others. It will definitely pave the way for the rehabilitation and urban redevelopment of Metro Manila," he added.

In a report released last September, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ranked Metro Manila, where it takes a motorist around 4.9 minutes to cover one kilometre, as the most congested city in developing Asia. A 2017 data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency also showed that traffic congestion in the capital costs the country P3.5 billion daily, which could rise to P5.4 billion by 2035 if no interventions are made.

www.senate.gov.ph