Recto’s latest scheme

Traffic flow on Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (Edsa) and elsewhere is bad because there is no political will from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and allied agencies to enforce traffic laws.

Specifically, transportation agencies remain deaf and blind to calls for an end to colorum buses, colorum jeepneys, colorum taxicabs, colorum passenger vans and even colorum tricycles and pedicabs.

In addition, traffic gets snarled by the sheer volume of government vehicles on the road that are being used for private errands such as bringing children to schools, malls and entertainment centers, to name a few.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the police can field as many enforcers as they want but the traffic problem will remain unsolved because nobody wants to solve it.

The situation is even worsened by the unending street diggings, road repairs and installation of water and telecommunication facilities on schedules that only complicate traffic.

There was a plan to raise the number of days private vehicles can be used but there had been schemes too many for comfort that had been proven ineffective and ill-conceived.

Now here comes the famous senator Ralph Recto, value-added tax (VAT) defender of ex-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and husband of Batngas governor Vilma Santos proposing still another scheme to reduce the flow of traffic from the main arteries of the transport system.

His argument is that any effort to decongest EDSA should be anchored on reducing the number of public utility buses (PUBs) plying the national thoroughfare.

He declared that “a traffic reduction plan clamping down on the use of private vehicles would not solve the problem. There should be a laser-powered approach to cut through the volume of buses traversing EDSA to attain satisfactory results.”

Laser-powered approach? Another unfamiliar jargon worded to confuse the public and evade the issue of corruption akin to the misuse of government vehicles, colorums and transport franchises?

When it comes to limiting the number of public utility buses (PUVs) to half of the present volume, Recto’s proposal is, indeed, a welcome suggestion though very unoriginal.

Unoriginal because his proposal hinges on the color coding scheme of MMDA that never worked even during the days of Bayani Fernando.

It eludes the question of apprehending the illegal transport operators and franchisees based on the kabit system. “Kung may kabit ka, mas madaling magbigay ng padulas,” a commuter said.

But take note. The main idea is not really to ease congestion but to increase the number of passengers taking the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

What could be wrong with that? That would make the government collect more fares at higher rates in sardined-like MRT coaches at the expense of commuters.

He said one positive trickle effect of this would be an increase in the number of passengers of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, which has become heavily dependent on state subsidy due to weak revenues.  But whose fault was this? Raul Valino


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