No truck ban = more jobs
FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O. Abalos (The Freeman) - November 8, 2015 - 9:00am

Today, whether in Metro Manila or, to some extent, Metro Cebu, the truck bans, though have ease vehicular traffic jams a bit, have resulted to a host of many other problems and inconveniences.  Worse, mostly have economic and financial implications.  For one, the port areas are congested with unwithdrawn containers.

Moreover, with their containers stuck at the port areas, the manufacturing activities of importers and exporters alike have slowed down.  Nastily, these importers/exporters as well as the banks that are operating in the port areas have to shell out more money for overtime pays and night premiums as some warehouse personnel/bank tellers had to work beyond regular hours.

Well, such measure pleased some but has been financially cumbersome to manufacturers (importers and exporters) as well as retailers all over the country as most cargoes go through the Manila and Cebu ports.

Soon, however, if left uncheck, Metro Cebu’s situation will just be as worse as that of Metro Manila.  Thus, as truck ban has been the most convenient option, stretching it to as far as the entire daytime isn’t a remote possibility.

As a result, the movement of goods (both raw materials and finished goods) shall be curtailed.  Thus, production activities shall be disrupted and deliveries of finished products shall come to a screeching halt at some point in time.  Manufacturing firms that operate 24/7 are to suffer the most.  Therefore, the country’s already known low productivity shall go further down.  Consequently, the economy shall simply go in the same direction.

Worse, unknown to most of us, truck ban is a big issue among potential investors, especially, to those in the manufacturing industry. These are efficiency-oriented manufacturing companies that move their raw materials and finished goods continuously twenty four hours a day.  With the truck ban, these efficiency-oriented practices are impossible to implement.   Thus, they are discouraged to invest.  Consequently, many job opportunities are lost.

Remember, our traffic situation is known worldwide through a study of Japan’s International Cooperation Agency or JICA.  To recall, in 2012, JICA’s study revealed that “the time lost by people within the traffic jams plus the cost of operating vehicles in Metro Manila and neighboring towns add up to around P2.4 billion per day”.  Well, that was three years ago.  Today, it could run to P3 billion a day.  To think, such study did not factor in Metro Cebu’s situation yet.

Having these imminent scenarios, we heard several proposals from stakeholders.  Some are pushing for a mass transport system.  Others are strongly suggesting that jeepneys must be discarded from the major thoroughfares.  The res            t are even suggesting to instead ban private cars, not cargo trucks, on the streets at peak hours.

Indeed, as is customary, when a proposal comes along, generally, two possibilities may happen.  Depending on one’s inherent biases, it is either given a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down”.  Worse, locked in a fierce exchange of thoughts, protagonists and adversaries (like honest-to-goodness citizens and traditional politicians) will even go to the extent of hurling accusations or even invectives just to make their points heard.  Likewise, proponents of new schemes and supporters of antiquated practices were all at it countless of times.

Objectively though, while jeepney operators’ and drivers’ claims that jeepneys, aside from being inexpensive are so convenient, and therefore, are the best options, are quite untenable.  This is so, because these claims are based on a distorted logic that they pick you up wherever you may be, thus, is so convenient.  Clearly, however, with the comfort fully air-conditioned stations and buses the BRT or MyBus supposedly provides, car owners may just leave their units in their garages than use them.  Therefore, we don’t even have to ban private cars on our streets on peak hours.  Private car owners will willingly do it. Thus, decongesting our streets.

Apart from a mass transport system, separated bicycle lanes should be considered as well.  Moreover, there is a need too to widen our streets’ sidewalks.  With trees providing the shade, commuters might find some great feeling of comfort and the benefit of walking for health reasons.  So that those who are just a kilometer away from their desired destinations may just have to take a stroll than take public utility jeepneys or buses.

Admittedly, these metropolises’ traffic congestions are long and flatly permanent and shall need permanent antidotes.  Thus, once and for all, let us seriously look into these traffic congestion concerns and the resulting truck bans that are besetting the two metropolises today.  The antidotes aren’t scarce.  These are readily available.  We just have to, one by one, grab it.  Once we’ve done these appropriately, truck ban will be a thing of the past. Consequently, the existing companies will be able to operate 24/7.  More importantly, new efficiency-oriented investors will likewise come, thus, generating more jobs.  These are jobs that even jeepney drivers and their immediate family members can grab.

ACIRC BAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY MANILA AND CEBU METRO METRO CEBU METRO MANILA NBSP SHALL THUS TRUCK
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