‘Telecommuting’ proposed as solution to traffic woes

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MANILA, Philippines – Senator Pia Cayetano has filed a bill proposing to institutionalize telecommuting – working online from home – to help decongest the country’s busiest thoroughfares such as those in Metro Manila.

Before anyone gets the idea that Senate Bill 56 promotes laziness, it actually proposes that a “sustainable transport action plan” be devised to promote walking, cycling and the use of improved public transport systems to go to and from school and the workplace.

“The heavy reliance on motor vehicles/cars promotes an unhealthy lifestyle as the public has become sedentary, refusing to walk or bike even short distances,” Cayetano said in an explanatory note to her bill.

This has been causing terrible traffic congestion, unnecessary stress and even accidents in practically all of the major cities in the country, said Cayetano, who is reportedly eyeing one of the top leadership positions in the Senate.

“It is high time we revisit this way of thinking and lifestyle or else our environment and health [will] continue to suffer,” she said.

The bill proposes that the Department of Transportation and Communication and the National Economic Development Authority come up with a sustainable transport action plan as a guide for the planning and design of national and local transportation systems across the country.

“The sustainable transport action plan shall include strategies, relating to parking, public transport, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure, and will set out the actions required to achieve the mode shift target over a certain period of time as identified by DOTC and Neda,” it said.

“The DOTC shall provide guidelines that will promote a shift towards public transportation as a primary mobility option to the general public within 12 months from the effectivity of this act,” it said.

The Cayetano bill also provides for three-meter-wide sidewalks along primary and secondary roads for safe pedestrian passage and convenient use of wheelchairs and strollers.

It also provides for bike lanes “for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles” in a portion roadways or highways.

Cayetano proposes that better public transportation initiatives be studied and implemented “to reduce the impact of the declining oil economy on our environment and financial markets as well as help reduce energy costs, pollution and even urban poverty.”

The bill provides for the commissioning of a Bus Rapid Transit System, which will organize buses into “one efficient long-distance transportation system with coordinated schedules, rates, routes and pick-up and drop-off points.”

Under this system, private sector stakeholders like mall owners and bus company owners can be tapped to make available parks, parking lots and bus depots for use as a collective terminal “where people can park their cars and bikes and take the buses to their destinations.”

The bill also provides that the government explore the establishment of a ferry system in navigable bodies of water, as well as consider the possibility of interconnecting these waterways.

The bill also provides for an inter-agency study of travel demand management programs by the DOTC and the labor, education and trade and industry departments, which would “come up with guidelines on travel demand management programs that will reduce the volume of cars and motorized transport in the roads… and encourage students and workers to use the public transport system”.

Telecommuting is one of the measures that will be studied to minimize the number of cars on the road.

The others are car-pooling, flexible work schedules or working from satellite work centers, transport programs for government employees and environment-friendly transportation systems certified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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  • desi derata

    .
    We can start by relocating universities in Metro Manila to peripheral provinces. UP can be re-located in San Ildefonso, Bulacan (the choice of the site is due to the North Diversion extension to San Rafael). Even the PSHS can transfer to Bulacan or Pampanga.

    If a high speed train system from Sangandaan, Caloocan to Clark Base will be established, a substantial portion of the congestion problem will be resolved. Ingress and egress to and from the country can be serviced by Clark Base International Airport.

    Creation of deep water port and harbor in Bulacan or Bataan and Aurora or Camarines Norte will definitely lessen the heavy truck traffic in Manila. A few export/import industries may re-locate to that area in Central Luzon.

    In order to attract manufacturing investors, the Filipinos should stop being stupid in the selecting political candidates. The last elections drove away potential investors as they saw that bad politiciians are elected and therefore graft and corruption will continue to be the order of business is a stark reality. How can we have jobs when entrepreneurs continue to focus on China and Malaysia, even Vietnam and Burma become more attractive than the Philippines when it comes to foreign investments in manufacturing.

    Along the line of job creation, telecommuting and technical competitiveness,the national govt should establish a Center of Excellence. Fundings and support can be a colloborative 50/50 share between the Office of the President and companies like IBM, Cisco, Red Hat and Novell, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and some start-ups from America, Japan, Europe and Russia,

    The objective is to train fresh graduates and to provide vertical career ladder for experienced computer professionals on Cisco networking, SAP deployment, Oracle and DB2 administration, UNIX deep-dive learning (AIX, Linux, UX and Solaris), 5th generation languages, analytics and application system develpment.

    The last group will build applications and for health, transportation, geographic information, wireless eCommerce, tax collection, CBT modules. simulations,etc.

    The National Computer Center (if it is still existing) should be re-vitalized to be able to assume this Center of Excellence. NCC`s satellite branches could be in Baguio, Cavite, Cebu, Zamboanga and Butuan.

    .

  • desi derata

    The solution is –

    Office hours (Makati and Ortigas) should start at 10:00AM (until 6:00PM). Kindergarten and private grade schools should start at 9:00AM. Dry goods and department stores should open at 9:00AM. Private clinics (including dental) should open from Tuesday to Saturday at 9:00AM too.

    Computer programmers should WFH.

  • Vincent

    Gustong gusto ng mga tamad yan!

  • frieda09

    I predicted this traffic situation that was why I decided to telecommute more than 10 years ago. The problem is that Philippine businesses are not yet accustomed to telecommuting.

  • Batang 80’s

    Kung tutuusin, ang LTFRB at LTO ang may problema.

  • screwdisk

    Singapore is the best urban planner on earth! Mass transit are well planned. No wonder why even rich citizens in Singapore use the public the transportation.

    • Marcs

      ika nga, “a progressive country is not one where the poor have cars, but where the rich take public transport”

      to buy a car in Singapore you’d have to buy a permit that costs almost as much as the car, and which has to be paid as lump sum.

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