Solon laments low PH ranking in ‘Urban Mobility Readiness Index’

Published November 11, 2020, 10:18 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

House Committee on Transportation chairman, Samar 1st district Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento can’t help but air disappointment Wednesday over the Philippines’ pathetic ranking in a 50-country “Urban Mobility Readiness Index.”

Samar 1st district Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Huwag po nating kalimutan yung mga numero…Sana matignan po natin ito nang maigi. Wala po tayong sinisisi, tayo po ay nagtutulungan (Let’s not forget the numbers…I hope we get to study this thoroughly. We’re not blaming anybody, we’re here to help each other),” Sarmiento said at the start of a virtual hearing by the panel. 

“May lumabas po na issue, ito po ay tinatawag na Urban Mobility Readiness…50 cities ang tinignan. Napakasakit po, pumasok po sa tayo sa no.49, second to the last. Wala po tayong sinisisi, ulitin po natin. Dapat may solusyon (An issue came out regarding Urban Mobility Readiness…50 cities were looked into. It hurts that we came in at no.49, second to the last. Again, we’re not blaming anyone. There must be a solution),” he said.

The solution according to Sarmiento is the immediate initiation of a 25-year mobility road map.

“Ano po ang ginagawa natin dito sa Kamara? (What are we doing here in the House?) We’re trying to come up with a road map to resolve all of these issues. This is a 25-year road map, dapat magsimula na po ngayon (we need to start now). Ito ay tinatawag po natin (We call this), ‘The Future of Mobility in the Philippines 2045’,” the Visayas solon said, adding that 2045 would mark the 100th anniversary of Philippine liberation during World War II.

Sarmiento futher said, “Kapag hindi po natin ginawa, ang problema paulit ulit na lang po iyan (If we don’t do this, then we will have a recurring problem.

Published in local dailies late last month, the Urban Mobility Readiness Index originated from US-based management consulting firm Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley. The report assessed how “well-positioned global cities are to lead mobility’s next chapter” based on five core criteria: infrastructure, social impact, market attractiveness, systems efficiency, and innovation. 

Manila, the Philippine capital, ranked ahead of Lagos, Nigeria. Included in the top 25 are the Asia-Pacific Cities of Singapore (1st with a rating of 74.1 percent), Hong Kong (4th, 72.6%), Tokyo (6th, 72.4%), Seoul (15th, 67.7%) , Sydney (17th, 66.1%), and Beijing (23rd, 60.2%).

Manila was given a total rating of 34.5 percent, with dimensional ratings of 46th (out of 50) in infrastructure, 43rd in social impact, 47th in market attractiveness, 42nd in systems efficiency, and 44th in innovations.

The report described Manila’s intercity rail network as inadequate, with public transportation as whole being inefficient, expensive, and not easily accessible. It also noted the congestion in the city’s streets and the failure to advance the city’s traffic management system.

Incidentally, House Bill (HB) No.2384 or the proposed Act instituting policies to mitigate the traffic crisis in the country —a measure that could conceivably help address the problems cited by the report  —was tackled by the Sarmiento committee later that day. San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan Rep. Florida Robes authored the bill.

“Traffic congestion has been a perennial problem, not just in Metro Manila, but of the whole country. I believe that this continuing traffic crisis needs more innovative and lasting strategies that will redound to the benefit of stakeholders. This proposal seeks to provide good alternatives to traffic problems,” Robes said in her sponsorship speech.

Among the solutions pitched in the bill are banning of all colorum public utility vehicles (PUV) in all routes in the country; implementation of a “no registration, no travel” policy and a “no garage, no car” policy; salary standardization of PUV drivers’ salary; regulation of three-wheeled vehicles; regulation of franchising scheme; and prioritization of carpooling among workers in both the public and private sector.

In the end, the panel formed a technical working group in order to further improve the provisions of the bill.