US expert on Metro Manila transportation: Too many cars, underinvestment on mass transit

Izzy Lee, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2023 11:32 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2023 09:49 AM

Move as One, a coalition advocating for sustainable and inclusive transport in the Philippines, celebrated its third anniversary at Hive Hotel in Quezon City on Saturday afternoon.

The event featured a presentation by Professor John Sidel, the Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He presented his paper titled "Crisis at Catalyst: Introducing Urban Transport Reforms in the Philippines Amidst the Global Pandemic," in which he discussed the transport situation in the Philippines, particularly in Manila. 

He noted the gridlock traffic caused by underinvestment in mass transit systems and people's over-reliance on cars. He also recognized the emerging subculture of transport biking fanatics advocating reform.

Despite the challenges encountered prior to the pandemic, Sidel recognized the opportunities for reform brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

He recommended open campaigning and policy work to help drive reforms, emphasizing the establishment of a bus rapid transit system that would shift from battery-operated public utility vehicles to a regularized system providing reliable public transport. 

DOTR Secretary Jaime Bautista also highlighted the role of the Move as One Coalition in achieving safe and inclusive public transport in the Philippines.

"We achieved significant strides for words a safe and inclusive public transit board because of the support of partners like NGOs today," Bautista said.

He cites the coalition's active participation in programs such as the bike lanes program, road safety, and many other transport projects.

Asec. Rolando Toledo of the Department of Budget of Management said that the government is prioritizing high-impact and urgent infrastructure projects that will improve fiscal productivity connectivity throughout the country.

He also commended the efforts of the coalition in creating social movements.

"Rest assured that you are not alone. The DBM and other government agencies are always open to discourse and recommendations from your coalition," he said.


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