Pangilinan wants anti-family, anti-progress MMDA experiments on EDSA stopped

Cease making commuters guinea pigs: Kiko

MANILA — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has taken up the cudgels for commuters and called on the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to stop its “anti-family, anti-progress” experiments on EDSA which has resulted in worse traffic gridlocks and even longer commute hours.

“Dapat isipin ang kalagayan ng mga commuter sa mga eksperimentong ginagawa para ibsan ang traffic jams. Ang mga commuter ang 70% ng gumagamit ng 20% ng mga kalye natin, liliitan pa ang espasyo nila? Hindi lang konting konsiderasyon ang hiling natin, konting paggamit din ng lohiko (Think of the commuters’ circumstances in the experiments to ease traffic jams. Commuters who make up 70% of road users use only 20% of the roads, but their space is further being limited? We ask not only for consideration, but also for the use of logic),” said Pangilinan, who has proposed the Magna Carta for Dignified Commuting.

“Sino ang napeperwisyo ng ‘carmageddon’? Mga nanay at tatay na hindi na nakikita ang mga anak nila. Mga anak na pagod na pagod sa byahe. Lahat, naaaksaya ang oras sa trapik. Ang mga solusyon ay dapat nakaugnay sa mga napeperwisyo ng gulong ito (Who suffer from ‘carmageddon’? Mothers and fathers who barely see their children. Children who are exhausted by the trip. Everyone who waste their time in traffic. Solutions must be related to those who suffer from this mess),” Pangilinan said.

The magna carta, or Senate Bill 775, seeks to ensure that the millions of commuters nationwide are entitled to a public transport system that is safe, convenient, reliable, and affordable commute with dignity. It also proposes to create a National Office on Commuter Affairs, aiming for a shift to a more sustainable transportation policy that provides safe access and mobility to all, promote economic development, preserve the environment, and ultimately uplift the lives of all commuters.

After heavy traffic congestion last week, the MMDA limited buses to the two rightmost lanes of EDSA, reserving the rest of the lanes to private vehicles. The implementation coincided with the dry-run of the proposed provincial bus ban despite a preliminary injunction from a Quezon City court last week. These caused confusion and even more congestion on the roads.

“Hindi lang anti-family ang mga eksperimentong ito, anti-progress din (These experiments are not only anti-family but also anti-progress),” Pangilinan said, citing a Japan International Cooperation Agency’s study saying that traffic congestion in Metro Manila and surrounding areas cost at least P3.5 billion every day.

“Paano ka magiging productive kung nauubos ang oras mo sa trapik? Itigil na yang mga eksperimentong lalo lang nakakaperwisyo sa tao (How can one be productive when you waste your time in traffic? Stop experiments that only make people suffer more),” he said.

Pangilinan called on the MMDA and other government agencies to shift its focus and priority to improving and expanding mass transport, instead of further limiting its capacity.

“Focus on the needs of the commuter instead of focusing on the needs of the few. Focus on how to increase efficiency in public transportation instead of offering band-aid solutions that are anti-commuters and anti-poor,” Pangilinan said.

The Magna Carta for Dignified Commuting, which was crafted in collaboration with transport advocacy group AltMobility PH, seeks to recognize, guarantee, and enforce the right of each person, especially of commuters who rely on public transportation services and active transport in their daily lives.