Escudero: Roxas’ proposal to cease franchises a ‘knee-jerk’ solution
A “knee-jerk” solution was how Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero described on Wednesday the reported proposal of presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II to terminate all existing bus franchises in Metro Manila to address the traffic woes in the metropolis.
Escudero said Roxas’ solution was not only “anti-business” but also “anti-poor” as it would negatively affect the riding public who depends on buses in the absence of an efficient rail transport system.
“We should be careful not to rush to knee-jerk solutions that would only exacerbate the situation in Metro Manila’s three major rail transit systems, especially the problematic Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3),” the senator said in a statement.
“If you remove all buses plying EDSA and other major thoroughfares, what is the alternative? That proposal is detrimental to the welfare of the riding public,” he added.
Escudero was reacting to Roxas’ reported statement that he intends to solve the worsening traffic by decongesting Metro Manila’s main thoroughfares and streamlining the system of bus franchises.
“One of the things that we will be doing is to terminate all of these various franchises along major thoroughfares in [Metro Manila],” Roxas was quoted as saying.
However, Escudero said the traffic problem in the metropolis requires long-term sustainable solutions like prioritizing an expanded and improved public transport system.
Traffic congestion in the nation’s capital region, he said, would have been “less worse” if there was an efficient and reliable mass transport system like commuter rails, which are a good alternative to private vehicles.
He said the MRT-3, which traverses the traffic-infested EDSA, was “definitely not a good alternative mode of transportation at this point” because of all the problems confronting it.
“With all the technical glitches, long lines and other problems hounding the MRT-3, how can you expect everyone to rely on this public transport system?” said the senator.
Escudero said Roxas’ suggestion could also “introduce a lot of attendant risks that can make matters worse.”
“Dapat din siguro na isaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng mga taong umaasa sa industriya ng bus para sa kanilang kabuhayan. Tatanggalan ng panukala ng kabuhayan ang mga operator pati rin ang libo-libong drayber, kunduktor at ibang empleyado na umaasa sa industriya,” he said.
(Perhaps we must consider the welfare of the people who rely on the bus industry as their livelihood. The proposal will remove the livelihood of the operator as well as that of the thousands of drivers, bus conductors and other employees who rely on the industry.)
Instead of total cancelation, the senator said the government, particularly the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), should conduct a no-nonsense review and cleansing of all existing bus franchises.
“Dapat rebisahin ang lahat ng mga bus franchise at tukuyin ‘yung mga sabit sa ‘kabit system’ kung saan ‘yung mga walang prangkisa ay nakikihiram o ride-along dun sa may prangkisa,” he said.
(Bus franchises must be revised and “kabit system” must be identified wherein those who have no franchises borrow from or ride-along with those who have.)
“I-review din dapat ‘yung special franchise na ini-issue at ginagamit ng ibang bus company para makapag-biyahe lalo na tuwing holiday. Kailangan lang magtrabaho ng maige ang LTFRB,” Escudero added.
(The special franchise, which is issued and used by other bus companies to ply especially during holidays, must be reviewed as well. LTFRB just have to work hard.)
Escudero said there would have been no colorum or illegal buses that contribute to the worsening traffic in Metro Manila had Roxas ordered a review and cleansing of all LTFRB-issued franchises when he was Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
“Kung ang paglinis ng mga prangkisa at pagtanggal ng lahat ng colorum buses ang unang inatupag ni Mar nung nasa DOTC sya, e di sana kahit paano nabawasan ang traffic sa EDSA at iba pang mahahalagang lansangan sa Kalakhang Maynila,” Escudero said.
(If only Mar had prioritized the cleansing of franchises and removal of all colorum buses when he was in DOTC, the traffic in EDSA and other major thoroughfares in the Metro Manila would have slightly decreased.) RAM
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