Transport advocacy group urges PBBM to solve daily commuting woes

Published July 2, 2022, 10:13 AM

by Aaron Recuenco 

A transport advocacy group is urging President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. to exhaust all means to solve the transportation woes in the country, which it said, causing a lot of stress to workers who have been struggling to go to their work places and back to their home every day.

Passenger Forum Convener Primo Morillo said the daily commuting problems of workers especially in Metro Manila and other urban areas need long-term solution and special attention by the new administration.

“This is one of the first big challenges of the Marcos administration. Many Filipinos are suffering due to the sad situation of our transportation. Commuters deserve both immediate relief and long-term solutions to ensure that they will not be further stressed outside their place of work,” said Morillo.

The daily struggles of the Filipino commuters, according to Morillo, were reflected in the 2022 Gallup Report on the State of Global Workplace, which states that Philippine workers are the most stressed in Southeast Asia.

Labor groups pointed to contractualization, low wages, slow pandemic recovery, and the transport crisis as the reasons for the physical and mental exhaustion of Filipino workers.

“Filipino commuters are really tired.The waiting times for public utility vehicles are getting worse every single day. And this gets even worse on rainy days as roofed waiting areas are too small and too few,” said Morillo.

“The incoming DOTr needs to look at how to quickly address the high demand for PUVs while also planning to make our public transport system and infrastructures more responsive to commuter needs in the long-term,” he added.

The transportation woes were aggravated by the series of big-time oil price hikes which forced some of the drivers and operators not to hit the road. This resulted in shortage of public utility vehicles.

Morillo said among the quick fixes they suggest to be implemented are allowing more PUVs on the road, clarifying guidelines on carpooling and company shuttles, maximizing the Pasig River and other waterways for transportation, and opening new routes and franchises for underserviced areas.

The group also also raised long-term solutions like having an extensive and efficient train network, working towards interconnectivity of public transport routes, building commuter-friendly infrastructures such as waiting sheds and integrated terminal exchanges, making the country’s urban areas walkable, and slowly veering away from fossil fuel-dependent vehicles.

“We are hoping that the Marcos administration through DOTr (Department of Transportation) Secretary Jaime Bautista will be able to provide relief for Filipino commuters within their first 100 days in office. As for the long-term solutions, they have a six-year term to do it but it is also crucial that we start planning towards a better transportation system especially for the underprivileged sectors,” Morillo said.