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Thread: TRAFFIC! Tales of Gridlock and (Non) Rush Hour

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  1. #71
    ^^^ (Cont'd )

    6. Do I get on and off a ride only at designated stops?

    We allow people to occupy one or two lanes to compete in getting a ride. We allow passengers to get down anywhere they want, even in the middle of the road. We should totally enforce rules on bus/jeepney/cab stops. We should apprehend both the driver and the passenger.

    7. Do I cross the streets only on pedestrian lanes?

    I think there was a time in the Marcos era when they tried to discipline jaywalkers by detaining them in makeshift jails open to public viewing. It may not be very humane to do this again but there should be some form of humiliation in the penalty when an ordinance is being introduced for it to be effective.

    8. Do I have too many drivers?

    Decades ago family drivers were employed only by the very rich and they served the head of the family and the very young members who couldn’t drive yet. There was an excitement among teens, especially boys, to get their own diver’s license prior to legal age that they falsified public documents lying about their age. Most of the time, the eager teenaged son was given a corresponding task to drive for his younger siblings as a way to earn his use of the family car. So siblings would go to school together using one car, wait for each other and go home together. But now we see a lot of drivers employed by middle class families, sometimes more than one in a family. Come on, does your grade schooler really need his own driver? What about the school bus? Some have his/hers/kids’ drivers in a single family. The problem with multiple drivers is that we tend to be lax in scheduling our trips causing more cars on the roads at any given time.

    9. Do we make our children get their driver’s license the legal way or do we pay off someone or pull strings in order to get one without having to go through all the trouble?

    Making our children get their driver’s license the legal way makes them experience bureaucracy and hopefully, the little pain felt will make them value it more and take this privilege of driving more seriously; consequently, making them more decent drivers.

    10. Do I cut or swerve and drive like a maniac bus driver on the road because everyone else is doing it?

    I remember when the boys were growing up and they would ask why the bus drivers drove that way? In one of my pissed off moments, I answered, “Because they are bus drivers, “bus” is short for “bastos!” For a time they believed that answer to be true and I had to correct it later on. But seriously, this is a question we have to answer honestly, “Am I also a “bas driver?”

    11. Do we occupy sidewalks?

    Pedestrians are discouraged from walking because we don’t have sidewalks. We see sari-sari stores and other structures extending up to the sidewalks.

    12. Do we use the roads as our basketball court or palengke or extension of our living room when there’s a wake?

    Some barangays allow their residents to use their precious roadways as basketball courts, palengkes and funeral parlors where tables and chairs are set up. Waze gets confused with these roads. Sometimes she directs you to detour to avoid congested main roads and you end up being delayed more because you didn’t anticipate all these “occupy barangay road” practices.

    There are many more that you can add to this list. Again, our traffic problem is so because we allow it to happen! Admittedly, I am guilty of some of the above items. I hope that these 12 points plus the ones you will add will make you look deeper into your own contribution to the chaotic and, contrary to what Abaya said, really fatal situation. Once we all do, we will be kinder in lambasting the government officials and be more proactive in doing our own little share in solving the Metro Manila traffic mess.

    As I end this article, I somehow feel more hopeful. Why? Because come to think of it, there are at least a dozen things we can do to ease traffic which are behavioral in nature and which we can readily do before those mass transport systems are put in place. Instead of just making new traffic ordinances here and there in an experimental basis, I think PNoy should call on the entire nation. He should deliver a speech declaring that we are in a state of emergency, apologize for their shortcomings and ask everyone to come together and sacrifice as a nation for the common good. Hmm… I actually imagine writing PNoy’s speech (in parody so I don’t bore my readers) once he declares Metro Manila in a fatal state of emergency! Watch out for that speech. smiley

    ***********************

    ANNOUNCEMENT

    I will speak at the First Quarter Macroeconomic Briefing to share my insights on the presidentiables, to be held on February 4 at the Ateneo Rockwell Campus from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. For reservations, please contact 4265661 or e-mail eaglewatch.soss@ateneo.edu.

    Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples - Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.

  2. #72
    ^^^ (Cont'd )

    6. Do I get on and off a ride only at designated stops?

    We allow people to occupy one or two lanes to compete in getting a ride. We allow passengers to get down anywhere they want, even in the middle of the road. We should totally enforce rules on bus/jeepney/cab stops. We should apprehend both the driver and the passenger.

    7. Do I cross the streets only on pedestrian lanes?

    I think there was a time in the Marcos era when they tried to discipline jaywalkers by detaining them in makeshift jails open to public viewing. It may not be very humane to do this again but there should be some form of humiliation in the penalty when an ordinance is being introduced for it to be effective.

    8. Do I have too many drivers?

    Decades ago family drivers were employed only by the very rich and they served the head of the family and the very young members who couldn’t drive yet. There was an excitement among teens, especially boys, to get their own diver’s license prior to legal age that they falsified public documents lying about their age. Most of the time, the eager teenaged son was given a corresponding task to drive for his younger siblings as a way to earn his use of the family car. So siblings would go to school together using one car, wait for each other and go home together. But now we see a lot of drivers employed by middle class families, sometimes more than one in a family. Come on, does your grade schooler really need his own driver? What about the school bus? Some have his/hers/kids’ drivers in a single family. The problem with multiple drivers is that we tend to be lax in scheduling our trips causing more cars on the roads at any given time.

    9. Do we make our children get their driver’s license the legal way or do we pay off someone or pull strings in order to get one without having to go through all the trouble?

    Making our children get their driver’s license the legal way makes them experience bureaucracy and hopefully, the little pain felt will make them value it more and take this privilege of driving more seriously; consequently, making them more decent drivers.

    10. Do I cut or swerve and drive like a maniac bus driver on the road because everyone else is doing it?

    I remember when the boys were growing up and they would ask why the bus drivers drove that way? In one of my pissed off moments, I answered, “Because they are bus drivers, “bus” is short for “bastos!” For a time they believed that answer to be true and I had to correct it later on. But seriously, this is a question we have to answer honestly, “Am I also a “bas driver?”

    11. Do we occupy sidewalks?

    Pedestrians are discouraged from walking because we don’t have sidewalks. We see sari-sari stores and other structures extending up to the sidewalks.

    12. Do we use the roads as our basketball court or palengke or extension of our living room when there’s a wake?

    Some barangays allow their residents to use their precious roadways as basketball courts, palengkes and funeral parlors where tables and chairs are set up. Waze gets confused with these roads. Sometimes she directs you to detour to avoid congested main roads and you end up being delayed more because you didn’t anticipate all these “occupy barangay road” practices.

    There are many more that you can add to this list. Again, our traffic problem is so because we allow it to happen! Admittedly, I am guilty of some of the above items. I hope that these 12 points plus the ones you will add will make you look deeper into your own contribution to the chaotic and, contrary to what Abaya said, really fatal situation. Once we all do, we will be kinder in lambasting the government officials and be more proactive in doing our own little share in solving the Metro Manila traffic mess.

    As I end this article, I somehow feel more hopeful. Why? Because come to think of it, there are at least a dozen things we can do to ease traffic which are behavioral in nature and which we can readily do before those mass transport systems are put in place. Instead of just making new traffic ordinances here and there in an experimental basis, I think PNoy should call on the entire nation. He should deliver a speech declaring that we are in a state of emergency, apologize for their shortcomings and ask everyone to come together and sacrifice as a nation for the common good. Hmm… I actually imagine writing PNoy’s speech (in parody so I don’t bore my readers) once he declares Metro Manila in a fatal state of emergency! Watch out for that speech. smiley

    ***********************

    ANNOUNCEMENT

    I will speak at the First Quarter Macroeconomic Briefing to share my insights on the presidentiables, to be held on February 4 at the Ateneo Rockwell Campus from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. For reservations, please contact 4265661 or e-mail eaglewatch.soss@ateneo.edu.

    Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples - Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.

  3. #73
    From pAbaya to TuGrabe

    DEMAND AND SUPPLY

    By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2017 - 12:00am

    No, I didn't think up that headline. I saw it as a hashtag on social media. Filipino humor can be devastating during difficult times. Unfortunately for whoever is the transport secretary, they are only as good as the performance of the MRT3.

    MRT 3 had long been falling apart, but lately, it seems things are getting intolerably worse. The past and present transport secretaries have been nibbling at the periphery of the problem?as if rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Both of them, pAbaya and TuGrabe are lawyers so they should know it all starts with the Original Sin: the MRT 3 BLT contract entered into by the FVR administration. It had been revised by succeeding administrations. After all the financial gymnastics, the Sobrepena-led MRTC still owns the system.

    What has been sold to the financial market are MRT bonds representing 77 percent of the securitized future monthly rental payments for Phase 1 of the MRT 3 project and excludes any economic interest in other aspects of the MRT3. This was what government bought through DBP and LandBank.

    The GFIs bought their MRT bonds at a big discount to face value. Market perception of the credit worthiness of the bonds may have been tarnished by the delayed lease payments.

    Around 2007-2009, there were periods when the then DOTC was almost one year in arrears. DOTC also neglected to set up the standby L/C in PNB which was supposed to be the cure for late payments. The last tranche of the bonds will mature on 2025, or the end of the lease period.

    Since government banks hold 80 percent of total outstanding bonds, it is like paying from one government pocket to another to some extent. But Sobrepena?s MRTC retains ownership. As owner of the system, it is the responsibility of MRTC to maintain MRT 3 and make capital investments such as new trains.

    But as it happened, Mar Roxas and his successor, pAbaya unilaterally took over the maintenance responsibility and awarded a contract to replace Sumitomo. Then pAbaya went on to award the P3.8 billion contract for new trains to a Chinese supplier.

    MRTC claims the transportation department did all those in violation of their contract. MRTC also claims they tried to talk to both pAbaya and TuGrabe, but both refused.

    I can understand why a government official will try to avoid having to deal with Sobrepena. I would too. The guy has a terrible track record in business, from the College Assurance Plan fiasco, Fil-Estate and Camp John Hay.

    Perhaps the reason Mar Roxas ruled against Sobrepena is because MRTC has not kept their side of the bargain. I am told that maintenance, even under Sumitomo, had deteriorated just before the contract was cancelled.

    But, as I said, there is no escaping the need to deal with MRTC. Ignoring MRTC means they will be indefinitely tied up in litigation while commuters suffer.

    The MRT 3 contract has provisions for international arbitration of disputes. Indeed, there is a pending arbitration case in Singapore that needs to be cleared.

    The only other thing government can probably do is to expropriate the system in the public interest. They can argue forever about the just compensation, but in the meantime, government can ask another group to invest and fix the system.

    But such a drastic move will unnerve investors who will now worry about the sanctity of contracts with government. Doubts will likely affect investor attitude on everything else having to do with risking capital here.

    We lost an opportunity to amicably fix the problem during the watch of Mar Roxas. At that time, Sobrepena had an agreement with Manny Pangilinan to make a joint proposal. Manny will pour in the needed investments, fix the dilapidated system and charge a fare competitive with aircon buses running at-grade. P-Noy reportedly commented that MVP may get too rich and that was the end of it.

    Now, I understand the deal between Sobrepena and MVP is no longer operative. MVP made an independent unsolicited bid together with Ayala (part of the original MRT 3 consortium) and the transport department gave it original proponent status.

    The proposal involves an investment of P12 billion to rehabilitate the train system without any fare increase for at least two years, as well as the handling of operations for a period of 30 to 32 years. It also includes resolving issues on the MRT-3 including the buyout of the government's stake held by LandBank and DBP, as well as other shareholders in MRTC or the private owner of the train system.

    But MRTC, as the owners of the MRT-3, now wants to reassert their rights. They claim they can rehire Sumitomo and fix the MRT-3 system without stopping operations, if DOTr would allow them.

    MRTC claims they have submitted several letters to Transportation Sec. Art Tugade and President Duterte as early as February. But they got no response.

    The rehabilitation plan of MRTC will include a full inspection of the MRT to be completed within 30 days by 100 engineers, the purchase of $50 million worth of spare parts, replacement of broken rails, the complete overhaul of all 73 MRT cars.

    MRTC has, likewise, expressed willingness to advance the $150 million for the rehabilitation of the trains, to recover later only through fares, even without increasing MRT fares beyond the rates of air-conditioned buses.

    Trusting Sobrepena to perform or even have the financial capacity to carry out his proposal is another thing altogether. It may be cheaper for President Duterte to talk to him, appeal to his sense of patriotism and when everything fails, to threaten him with Tokhang.

    As unpalatable as dealing with Sobrepena can be, he has to be dealt with or no lasting solution is possible and MRT 3's problems will just worsen. That will be TuGrabe.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  4. #74
    Maria Isabel Lopez's license revoked over ASEAN lane infringement

    ABS-CBN News

    Posted at Nov 27 2017 01:16 PM | Updated as of Nov 27 2017 03:56 PM

    MANILA - (UPDATED) The driver's license of former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez has been revoked after she used a traffic lane reserved for ASEAN delegates earlier this month, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Monday.

    The Land Transportation Office also prohibited Lopez from applying or reacquiring her license for the next 2 years, said MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago.

    Lopez must also pay an P8,000 penalty for reckless driving, disregarding traffic signs, and violation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, MMDA added.

    The actress earlier this month admitted in a Facebook post that she removed the traffic cones along EDSA which allotted a lane for delegates of the ASEAN Summit.

    Her lawyer said their camp is saddened by the revocation of her license, but they will file "necessary remedy for the reconsideration of the LTO's decision."

    "We reiterate that revocation is too harsh a penalty for a first time offender like her," said lawyer Sol Taule.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  5. #75
    Ma'am Karen's burden

    DEMAND AND SUPPLY

    By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 29, 2017 - 12:00am

    I have ridiculed the transport department for having too many lawyers and not enough engineers calling the shots. But it seems they just have the wrong kind of lawyers. After hearing UP Law and Harvard trained Atty Karen Jimeno discuss how she is updating the cumbersome and antiquated legal system at DPWH, I must say the infrastructure agencies need lawyers like her.

    Ma'am Karen made a presentation on behalf of DPWH before the Foundation for Economic Freedom last week. She bravely responded to questions from FEF's normally skeptical members. She came out of it pretty well, her fever and bad cold notwithstanding.

    Actually, I have seen her presentation on the P8-9 trillion Build Build Build program in one form or another over the last year. But her last slide is important. It was about the reform measures she initiated to make DPWH more effective.

    The most important items are about how Atty Karen thinks they should handle right of way (ROW) acquisition. ROW problems are seriously slowing down delivery of infra projects.

    Indeed, even with leftover PPP projects like the NLEX-SLEX connector road being undertaken by San Miguel, I see a two-year delay in completion because of ROW problems. The original delivery was supposed to have been last September. The project won?t be delivered in 2018. If we are lucky, maybe we can start using portions of it by end of 2019.

    The project is important because by one estimate, it can reduce EDSA traffic by 50 percent. And Ramon Ang of San Miguel plans to run a BRT system on top of it that goes all the way to Susana Heights in Muntinlupa. That means it will benefit not just car riders but ordinary commuters many of whom are probably using MRT3.

    The Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) should have been completed by now all the way to La Union but ROW problems caused so much trouble and delay. DPWH was moving too slowly to enable the contractor to complete the expressway construction faster.

    ROW problems severely affect the ability of DPWH to absorb all that money being made available under the Build Build Build program. To Ma'am Karen's credit, she admitted the system is a mess. But she has introduced reforms that should help somewhat.

    Usec Karen informed us they have decentralized the approval of ROW payments, an improvement of the current system where everything must go up to central office in Manila. On her recommendation, they created a task force to minimize delay in project implementation.

    But Usec Jimeno also shared the problems she found when she took office. For one, they don't have enough lawyers to handle the ROW cases. They have vacancies but could not get capable lawyers to join the staff because of the pitifully small salary.

    She didn't deny that the bureaucracy is too laid back and with no sense of urgency. But that's also because a good number of them are casual employees for years and years and have no motivation to do better.

    But Usec Karen is now more hopeful they can move faster on ROW cases thanks to the new ROW Law for big ticket projects. They however also have problems in complying with property appraisal requirements as those authorized by law to do appraisals like the DBP and Land Bank have their own priority concerns.

    Actually, I can understand why DPWH officials are reluctant to move fast on papers sent to them for approval. Look at what happened to former secretary Babes Singson who is now facing an Ombudsman case over ROW payments he authorized that turned out to be problematic.

    Criminal syndicates are entrenched in the system. It is not easy for a top official to know if the papers sent to him by his staff are legitimate.

    Usec Karen admits that having a more efficient ROW system is critical to their mission and it is her responsibility to make sure the legal staff is up to the challenge. Inasmuch as I am sure the Usec joined DPWH because she thought she could make a difference, I am hopeful things will improve in the coming months.

    But, I suggested to her to revise the rest of her powerpoint presentation to provide a more realistic delivery date of projects. They have to take into account the delays that will still happen due to ROW and other bureaucratic problems.

    I do not believe they can institute 24/7 work schedule on the urban infra projects given that all have serious ROW problems. Costs will just dramatically increase if they mobilize a work force for a 24/7 schedule but are slowed down by ROW problems.

    In any case, Usec Karen also revealed that DPWH has also issued orders to streamline procurement process based on the New Procurement Manual. They have also started to implement Project and Contract Management Application (PCMA) that will improve transparency and accountability of physical and financial outcomes through use of online geographic based status reporting and geo-tagged photos.

    The Usec also said they created the Infrastructure Monitoring Advisory Groups (IMAGs) that will enable participatory and transparent monitoring of big ticket projects. They have also created a multi-media citizens feedback mechanism to receive and take action on any complaint, query or suggestion.

    I must say that the good intentions are there but whether they can execute is another. In the end, it is project delivery that counts.

    I admire people like Usec Karen who leave well paying private sector jobs to make a difference in delivering public service. That's Ma'am Karen's burden.

    For now, it would be nice to see work started on those seven bridges across the Pasig River being constantly announced by DPWH Sec Mark Villar.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  6. #76
    Traffic to get even worse

    By: Jovic Yee - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:21 AM December 27, 2017

    Traffic in Metro Manila is bound to get worse before it gets better, as the government rolls out its infrastructure projects meant to ease road congestion in the third quarter of 2018.

    "There are many projects next year that are part of the 'Build, Build, Build' program ? that will simultaneously [start construction by this time] till the end of President Duterte's term. For us to have better infrastructure, we need to go through heavy traffic. So we have to keep our patience up," Transport Undersecretary for Roads Tim Orbos said on Tuesday.

    Among the big-ticket projects scheduled next year are the construction of several bridges, the rehabilitation of Guadalupe Bridge, and the construction of a common station for the metro's three train systems; as well as the construction of the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT 1) extension, the Metro Manila subway system and the South Integrated Terminal.

    These are on top of the ongoing construction of the LRT 2 extension, the Metro Rail Transit 7 and the Southwest Integrated Terminal Exchange.

    Though traffic was expected "to get worse" around the third quarter of 2018, Orbos said motorists could use alternative routes as new roads were expected to open next year, among them the Harbor Link and the Skyway Connector.

    The government was also working out possible solutions to the expected road congestion like a possible flexitime schedule for office workers that, however, still needs the approval of the private sector, Orbos added.

    Other programs being looked into were nighttime commerce and carpooling.

    Orbos earlier said that the government was looking at releasing by the first quarter of 2018 an order setting the allowable grade of tint for car windows.

    The regulation would enable the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to implement more effectively the "high-occupancy vehicle" lane to encourage carpooling among motorists.

    The MMDA has been having a hard time enforcing this lane restriction along Edsa since majority of the cars recorded to have used the innermost lane have heavily tinted windows.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  7. #77
    Stop Tailgating. It Only Makes Traffic Jams Worse.

    New research from MIT shows that leaving a little space between cars can make traffic jams disappear almost completely.

    By AVERY THOMPSON | Dec 21, 2017

    If you've ever been stuck in traffic, you might have tried to go faster by tailgating the car in front of you. Instinctively, you probably know that tailgating doesn't help you get where you're going any faster, but it's hard to overcome that urge to drive as close to the car in front as possible.

    New research from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory not only confirms that tailgating doesn't work, but demonstrates that it actually makes the situation worse. Tailgating triggers traffic jams and makes traffic move more slowly. As an alternative, the MIT researchers suggest the best course of action in traffic is to maintain an equal distance from both the car in front of you and the car behind you.

    This idea - driving far apart from the cars in front of and behind you - is called bilateral control, and if everyone adopted it we could almost completely eliminate traffic jams. Even at an individual level, "driving like this could have a dramatic effect in reducing travel time and fuel consumption," says researcher Berthold Horn.

    The problem is that all driving, even on a smooth highway, has kinks that can interrupt the driving experience. These 'perturbations,' as Horn calls them, can be anything from an animal crossing the street to a sudden lane change to a driver unexpectedly braking. If cars are too close together, these perturbations can add together into a gigantic traffic jam.

    "Our work shows that, if drivers all keep an equal distance between the cars on either side of them, such 'perturbations' would disappear as they travel down a line of traffic, rather than amplify to create a traffic jam," says Horn.

    Of course, asking drivers to pay attention to their bilateral control is easier said than done. Instead, the researchers suggest that auto manufacturers add rear-facing sensors to cars and update their adaptive cruise control software. According to the study, if only a small percentage of cars used this feature it could dramatically reduce traffic jams.

    Hopefully automakers will start including rear-facing sensors on their cars in the future. In the meantime, try not to tailgate, no matter how much you want to.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  8. #78
    Costly traffic

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:11 AM February 26, 2018

    Metro Manila's traffic mess is one problem that is proving too difficult to untangle. A confluence of events since many administrations ago has led to this nightmare in the capital.

    Last week, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) estimated that the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila now costs at least P3.5 billion in lost opportunities a day - a jump from the estimated P2.4 billion a day in 2012.

    The future does not seem to present much promise either.

    According to the Jica study, Metro Manila's population in 2015 was nearly 13 million while Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite combined had almost 11 million. That puts Mega Manila's population in 2015 at 24 million.

    By 2025, Jica projected that Metro Manila's population would be 16 million, and that of Mega Manila 38 million - becoming one of the largest cities in the world and, as a consequence, more congested.

    The Metro Rail Transit 3 or MRT 3 that runs the stretch of Edsa could have helped much, but it has deteriorated so much that technical problems and stoppage have become a daily occurrence.

    Yet Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade remains ever hopeful, saying he still felt there were solutions to address the MRT 3 problem. He was most likely referring to again tapping Sumitomo Corp. as MRT 3's maintenance operator and finally privatizing its operations.

    The Department of Transportation has been in talks with Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which had offered to take over the operations and rehabilitation of MRT 3.

    Another potential solution has been pending for some time in Congress. In August 2016, Sen. Grace Poe filed Senate Bill No. 1284 seeking to give President Duterte emergency powers to address the traffic problem.

    The measure, however, is in limbo, legislators having focused their priorities on the proposed shift to federalism and on televised investigations purportedly in aid of legislation.

    Add to all these issues the lack of discipline on the road and you have the perfect storm insofar as choking Metro Manila’s streets is concerned.

    Jica, which has been helping the Philippine government find solutions to the traffic problem, pointed out that the huge cost of congestion highlighted the need for new and modern infrastructure to ease the traffic situation.

    One such undertaking is the initial phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project. Groundbreaking for the subway project has been moved to the third quarter of this year instead of early 2019. The 25.3-kilometer underground rail will connect Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig City, with a spur line to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. It will cost P356.9 billion.

    It is just part of the Duterte administration's ambitious "Build, build, build" infrastructure program to help ease the congestion, especially in the metropolis.

    Under the program, the government will roll out 75 infrastructure projects, with about half targeted to be finished within Mr. Duterte's term. A total of more than P8 trillion will be spent on modern infrastructure such as skyways, railways and bridges until 2022.

    This is not to say that traffic congestion will disappear once the new roads and bridges and railways have been built. Sadly, traffic congestion in the future will still be very costly. The traffic cost is P3.5 billion a day in Metro Manila today. If nothing is done, Jica estimated, it would worsen to P5.4 billion a day by 2035.

    With "Build, build, build," it could be reduced to P3 billion a day. With additional projects other than those identified in the infrastructure program, it would be reduced to P2.4 billion a day, which is still a very high price to pay for traffic congestion.

    We can only dream of the day when we citizens would have smart choices in going from one place to another. A subway/elevated train system, efficient public buses and taxis, all environment-friendly by running on electricity or natural gas. Or even dedicated bicycle lanes for the health buffs. These will all take a long time to implement. But now is the best time to start.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  9. #79
    Philippine Competition Commission will review Grab-Uber deal

    By: Roy Stephen C. Canivel - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:34 PM April 03, 2018

    The government’s competition watchdog has decided to review Grab’s takeover of its main rival here in the country, but it is not yet clear if it could still prevent Uber from stopping operations next week.

    The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said on Tuesday that it would review the Grab-Uber deal, hoping to buy more time by convincing the popular ride-hailing firms to delay their transaction.

    This developed days after Grab said it would acquire Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia, calling it the largest acquisition by a Southeast Asian Internet company. Uber is already scheduled to stop operations on April 8.

    PCC would be reviewing the deal even after the parties involved said that the transaction was not notifiable under current PCC rules. Technically, Uber and Grab are already allowed to push through with their deal.

    However, the law also allows PCC to review a non-notifiable deal if the antitrust body finds a “reasonable basis” to do so, according to PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan in an interview with reporters.

    Notifiable transactions are mergers and acquisitions (M&As) that meet certain requirements deemed to be potentially anti-competitive in the market. Such deal is not allowed to be acted on until PCC finishes its review of the notifiable M&A.

    Depending on how the companies would cooperate, the review, which would see if the acquisition is anti-competition, could take months.

    The first phase of the review takes at most 75 days, Balisacan said.

    However, if there would be “serious gaps in our analysis because of a lack of information,” the review could extend for another 120 days at most, he added.

    What would happen in the meantime is yet to be seen.

    PCC officials would meet with Grab and Uber to discuss interim measures which both PCC and the companies would have to agree on.

    “The interim measure is intended so that the review would not be compromised. [Essentially, it means] that the situation that was prevailing before the consummation of the transaction would continue to prevail,” he said.

    It is still unclear if the upcoming monopoly would agree on PCC’s terms. /atm
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI


 
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