Consider telecommuting amid 'transport crisis' - Villanueva

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2019 05:14 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2019 05:24 PM

MANILA - Labor regulators and employers must consider allowing telecommuting to maintain workers' productivity as transportation woes gripped Metro Manila, Sen. Joel Villanueva said Tuesday.

Villanueva pointed out that President Rodrigo Duterte already signed last January a law that allows private sector employees to work from home.

"We want to create more options for our employees to fulfill their duties while minimizing the need to go out of their homes and travel to their places of work," Villanueva said in a statement.

"Given our worsening traffic situation which is compounded by the partial shut down of the LRT-2, it's really high time for employers to consider the benefits of telecommuting."

Thousands of commuters have been suffering following successive glitches at the capital region’s three main railway systems.

The LRT-2 partially resumed its operations with slower and fewer trains on Tuesday, 5 days after it shut down due to a fire, forcing tens of thousands of passengers to find alternative modes of transport. 

The power supply, however, was only enough to run 5 trains, down from the usual 9 to 10 trains that ferry 220,000 passengers daily, said LRT Authority Spokesperson Hernando Cabrera. 

Heavy traffic at the South Luzon Expressway has also tested the public’s patience as the P10-billion extension of the Skyway System goes underway.

The spate of problems hounding Metro Manila's transportation system has prompted Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. to say the metro was already experiencing a "transport crisis."

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian believes privatizing LRT-2 operations would be the best solution to improve its services and make it financially viable in the long-term.

“The LRT Line 2 is the only remaining segment among the three existing LRT and MRT lines that has yet to be privatized,” Gatchalian said.

“The LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority) needs to seriously look into the privatization of the operation and maintenance of the LRT-2 in order to avoid disruptions in operations such as the current shutdown of the entire line and the projected stoppage of operations of the Santolan, Katipunan, and Anonas stations for the next nine months.”

Gatchalian, meanwhile, also pushed for the passage of the Proof of Parking Space Act to ease traffic in the capital.

“The focus of the bill is not to prevent car owners to buy cars, you can buy as many cars as you want as long as you have your own parking space and do not park on the road,” he said.

“The aim of this bill is to clear the road, to make the roads passable to all motorists and to also free up the sidewalks because a lot of sidewalks are being used as parking lots also.”