"All that the report mentioned were different bays for buses, jeepneys, and taxis."
President Duterte led the inauguration of the so-called Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange last Monday. The terminal is indeed impressive. Built at a cost of about P4.8 billion, it has been billed by the Department of Transportation as an integrated and multi-modal terminal. Integrated in a sense that everything will be done in one single facility which is located in a five-hectare property. Multi-modal because passengers coming from Southern Luzon will all disembark at the terminal and transfer to other vehicles to complete their journey to the Metro area.
The facility was designed to accommodate 100,000 passengers a day and features modern departure and arrival bays for buses, jeepneys, and taxis. Even the President, who has avoided tackling the Metro traffic problem head on, was impressed by the facility, saying that this will help lessen traffic congestion in the Metro area.
But will it indeed lessen traffic congestion? I really hope so. After all, this project is part of Build, Build, Build government program. And to be fair to the DOTr planners, this project has been long time coming and credit should be given to them for pushing it through. But there are some issues that cannot be overlooked. This is the description of the facility as being multi-modal. It is a well-known fact that there are four basic transport modes. Land, rail, air, and sea. If the facility is indeed inter-modal, what this means is that those passengers coming from the South will disembark in the facility and then transfers to a rail transport to complete their journey to the Metro area.
Nothing in the report, however, mentions this. In fact, all that the report mentioned were different bays for buses, jeepneys, and taxis. This factor is important because if the facility will be processing from 100,000 to 200,000 passengers, there will be a need to provide additional buses, jeepneys and taxis to bring these thousands of passengers to the Metro area.
Even if the DOTr will say that the passengers will take the same transport units bringing people to the facility for their outward journey, there will almost certainly be a net increase in land transport which will add vehicles in Metro streets instead of decongesting traffic. Buses or jeepneys cannot be classified as inter-modal. If, however, the LRT line being extended to Cavite will be diverted to the facility to collect all disembarking passengers from the South, this would be the most ideal situation. If not, then the facility cannot be truly classified as inter-modal.
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Congressman Johnny Pimentel of Surigao Del Sur is proposing that the number of women recruits in the Philippine National Police be increased from 10 percent of the whole force to 20 percent. It appears that the good Congressman’s move was a reaction to an alleged misconduct of a policeman, PO1 Edgardo Valencia of the Manila Police District, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by a fifteen year old girl who alleged that he raped her in exchange for the release of her parents who were in jail for a drug-related offense.
The thinking of Congressman Pimentel is that if there are more policewomen available in the PNP, such incidents could be avoided because there will be more female police personnel to handle similar cases. There is also an advocacy group saying that what happened to the girl is not an isolated case, an accusation that the Chief PNP, Oscar Albayalde, vehemently denies, saying the case is an isolated case. He also said that one case cannot and should not be used to characterize the whole PNP.
The motive of Congressman Pimentel is understandable but is too simplistic a solution to a problem that requires deep-rooted solutions. What is bothersome though is that the accused policeman is the lowest in the enlisted ranks and such behavior must never be tolerated. Maybe the PNP leadership should look at reforming and improving current recruitment and training policies to be more selective on people being recruited into the police force.
Predictably, Director General Albayalde shut down the proposal of Congressman Pimentel by citing the physical limitations of a woman, such as getting pregnant, and the length of maternity leaves which could disrupt police functions.
But child-bearing or the length of maternity leaves should not be given as a reason to limit the number of women who want to enlist in the Police force. There is already a law that protects the rights of citizens when it comes to employment opportunities against discrimination because of gender, religion, or race. What should determine the number of women in the police force must be the needs of the force and not an arbitrary number determined by certain individuals because of old-fashioned beliefs or misconceptions.
In the Philippine Military Academy, for instance, the number of women entering the institution is determined by the number of applicants who pass the tough written examination and the rigorous physical examination. Many military and police organizations around the world also have not limited the number of women allowed to join because of pregnancy and length of maternity leaves. Some countries like Israel are well-known for having women soldiers doing the same things as men do. In Russia, we have read historical instances during the 2nd World War of women in combat alongside their men folk against the vaunted German Army. In the United States armed forces, there are now women fighter pilots. Women are also allowed to try for the tough Army Ranger training course. In this day and in age, we find more and more taboos disappearing.