According to a recent report by GMA News Online, the Philippines has suffered an estimated P4.1 billion in losses for 2017 due to Metro Manila's horrible traffic. This is based on a study done by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA.
Transportation assistant secretary Mark de Leon says that one of the main reasons for this is the country's lack of a decent public transportation system.
"Kaya lumalaki ang congestion levels kasi iyong mga tao will not opt to use public transportation. Kaya dumadami iyong traffic natin, kasi napaka-inconvenient ng ating public transportation" he said.
The loss of income was one of the issues tackled during a Senate hearing on jeepney modernization, which looks like it's meeting some resistance from legislators. A report by Inquirer says that Senators Grace Poe and Vicente Sotto III called on the government to allow aged but still roadworthy jeepneys to continue ferrying passengers.
At a Senate hearing held earlier today, Poe—who is also the chair of the Senate committee on public services—urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to find a compromise with transport groups and jeepney operators, saying: "Kung roadworthy naman siya, ibig sabihin ligtas. Pangalawa, emissions safety na nakapasa, baka pwedeng payagan."
Poe also suggested that the jeepney modernization program be implemented in "pilot areas" instead of nationwide. "Gusto ko sana magkaroon muna ng mga pilot projects. Hindi pwedeng sabay-sabay lahat ang areas."
Senate Majority Leader Sotto shared similar sentiments. According to him, transport officials should let jeeps continue working so as long as they pass the MVIS (Motor Vehicle Inspection System). "You can find a middle ground na kapag pumasa sa MVIS, let them retain it," he said. "Bakit niyo kailangan alisin e pasado sa MVIS?"
Transport officials and operators will continue their dialogue. Poe also added that there are still many issues in the modernization program which need to be addressed. "Talagang marami pang butas na kailangan nilang ayusin," she said.
Do you think that the jeepney modernization program will help improve the capital's traffic situation, and therefore help the national economy? Should old jeepneys which manage to pass the government's MVIS be allowed to continue servicing the public? And most important, has anything in the history of mankind flunked the MVIS?
This story originally appeared on Topgear.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Fhm.com.ph editors.