Joel Villanueva

Modified coding scheme should benefit commuters, economy

April 11, 2022 Edd Reyes 211 views

THE Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) should ensure that the proposed modified Unified Vehicle Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or number coding scheme could address the economic cost of congested Metro Manila traffic under Alert Level 1.

This was the call from Sen. Joel “TESDAMAN” Villanueva after the MMDA posted their proposals to modify the traffic coding scheme for Metro Manila on its official Facebook page on April 9. The agency’s social media post also asked the public to weigh in on the proposal.

“People want to go back to work as we are reopening the economy. The MMDA should make it clear with the Metro Manila Council that the modified coding scheme won’t be at the detriment of commuting workers and economic rejuvenation,” Villanueva said.

While the MMDA said it has consulted with government and transport groups on the proposed modified plan to solve traffic in Metro Manila, the senator said the agency should make sure the proposals heed the recommendations of the economic managers on what would be the proposals’ effects for businesses and workers.

“Traffic congestion does have adverse effects on the economy and the lives of everyone on the road. The MMDA should study if the 20%, 40%, or 50% volume reduction of vehicles on Metro Manila has a net positive impact for the economy,” Villanueva said.

The senator added that the proposed modified scheme should go hand in hand with an improved public transportation system.

“Better public transportation services and alternatives should be offered if we are to reduce traffic congestion. Para saan pa ang masulusyonan natin ang traffic pero wala namang masakyan ang mga tao?” Villanueva asked.

The senator also reminded business and government to fully implement the Telecommuting or Work From Home Law, especially in areas where there is severe traffic congestion.

“Until we can find a clear solution to our traffic and transport problem, alternative working arrangements remain viable options for workers and businesses,” he said.

Republic Act No. 11165, also known as the Telecommuting Act or the Work From Home Law which Villanueva authored and sponsored, empowers employers to offer alternative work arrangement options to their employees. The law allows both employers and employees to mutually agree on terms and conditions for the alternative working arrangement, which shall not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law.

“A lot of time is being wasted because of traffic. Instead of our workers being productive, they are stuck for two to three hours or more every day on the road just to get to work and back home. We need a traffic and transportation scheme that puts life back in livelihood,” he said.

In 2018, the Japan International Cooperation Agency reported that the economic cost of transportation in Metro Manila is at P3.5 billion pesos a day, which is estimated to increase to Php 5.4 billion a day by 2035. The economic cost of transportation refers to vehicle operating cost (e.g. wasted fuel) and time cost spent by drivers and passengers along the road network in Metro Manila.