With Metro Manila now ranked as the third worst traffic-congested urban areas in Asia, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has ordered the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau to establish a long-term plan to solve the traffic problem in the city, including the recruitment of up to 10,000 volunteers by year 2020.
Estrada, citing the recent Uber-commissioned survey, said commuters and motorists in the metropolis spend the third longest average time being stuck in traffic every day at 66 minutes, next to Bangkok with 72 minutes and Jakarta with 68 minutes.
“We have to come up with decisive measures to solve our traffic problems, if not our country’s economy will continue to suffer,” Estrada said.
According to the Uber study, drivers spend almost P100,000 looking for parking and sitting in traffic every year. In a year, it said Metro Manila residents spent 402 hours stuck in traffic.
“The impact of traffic is horrendous. People spend so much time in the roads,” Estrada lamented.
Based on the “Mission 2020” traffic plan of MTPB chief Director Dennis Alcoreza, Estrada said 10,000 volunteers, 3,000 of them bikers or motorcycle riders, would boost efforts by the city government to address the perennial traffic congestion in the city.
Alcoreza met with Elvis Allan Patao, chief of the MTPB’s Barangay Traffic Auxiliary Group, for the City of Manila and the barangays to work on a joint project to improve traffic in the city.
“The ‘Vision’ of the MTPB-BTAG is to revive ‘Manila’s Past Glory’ through traffic discipline in the city,” said Patao
With this plan, Patao said part of the MTPB-BTAG vision of traffic plan for Manila would be to recruit 10,000 volunteers from different sectors including bikers or motorcycle groups to assist government traffic personnel.
Out of the 10,000 volunteers, Patao said 7,000 would serve as “force multipliers
“The reason why we called it Mission 2020, at least we have a time, in three years’ time, everything will be included in the plan,” he pointed out.
The plan would include recruiting 10,000 traffic volunteers by 2020; establish 24/7 Traffic Responders; 24/7 Traffic Action Centers; 24/7 Motorcycle/Bike Patrollers Group; Social Media I-tag Reporters; Traffic Monitoring Groups; Radio Communication Group; and Traffic Hero Volunteers, from 896 barangays in Manila.
Patao said the action centers will be used as satellite offices of the MTPB.
“People do not have to go to City Hall always, as there will be satellite offices established city-wide,” said Patao; there will be satellite offices such as Pandacan, Sta. Mesa, and other areas from Manila.
He also said that they are also recruiting bike groups or motorcycle groups to become volunteers.
“The bikers’ groups will serve as models of the drivers. There are about 150 members from different motorcycle groups who are now volunteer members of BTAG,” said Patao, adding that these volunteers will be deputized by MTPB-BTAG.
Meanwhile, Patao also cited the order of Estrada to traffic enforcers.
Patao called this order “Anim na Utos in Mayor Joseph Estrada” or Six Orders of Mayor Joseph Estrada. These are:
1. Huwag kang mangotong (Do not extort).
2. Huwag kang tatanggap ng suhol (Do not accept bribes).
3. Unahin ang paglilingkod, hindi ang pagsasamantala (Prioritize service to the public and not to take advantage of the public).
4. Igalang mo ang nakatataas sa iyo at higit sa lahat, ang publiko (Respect superiors, especially, the public).
5. Maging patas sa pagpapatupad ng batas trapiko (Be fair in the implementation of traffic rules and regulations); and
6. Huwag gamitin ang MTPB sa sariling kapakanan (Do not use the MTPB for ones’ own personal gain).
Patao said for the social media, complainants can use social media websites to report concerns, problems and complaints so that MTPB-BTAG could take action or address the problems immediately.
Traffic concerns such as traffic accidents, cutting trips of public utility vehicles and road signs which need to be fixed, can be addressed right away through social media.
Patao also said communication through two-way radio is also important.
“We are trying to establish radio communications in several barangays and to have a centralized radio communication to address the problems quickly,” said Patao.
Because of the increase in population, transportation and establishments in the city, this caused heavy traffic in Manila.
The surroundings also became in disarray and pollution became worse which became unhealthy for the people. Due to these problems, the quality of life became lower.
“Together, we can make it possible as long as we help each other,” said Patao.