Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed to declare certain public holidays as “toll-free” days to ensure smooth travel in the North Expressway and South Luzon Expressway as well as other connecting toll highways.
Sotto’s Senate Bill No. 2220 seeks to amend Section 6 of Presidential Decree 1112, the law creating the Toll Regulatory Board, which currently exempts only government vehicles on official business from the payment of toll fees.
If enacted into law, Sotto’s bill will cover “all vehicles” during the so-called toll holidays, applicable only on certain holidays and under procedures and circumstances as will be promulgated by the TRB.
“With all the negative impact that the worsening traffic situation in the country has brought to its people, providing solution to the condition even on certain days could really ease the burden on the affected Filipinos,” he said.
“Other than the financial losses incurred and will be incurred, traffic congestion affects one’s health, work performance and even relationships, causes pollution, road rage and accidents. Thus, it affects the quality of life in general,” Sotto added.
The Senate leader took note of a study conducted by a global firm Boston Consulting Group which showed that Metro Manila has the third worst traffic situation in Southeast Asia.
According to the study, motorists and commuters spend an average of 66 minutes daily in traffic.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency, in another study, said the Philippines is now losing P3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila and the situation can get worse, translating to losses of P5.4 billion a day by 2035 if interventions will not be made.