CONGESTION!

Photo courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

By Miguel Raymundo

ENVIRONMENTALISTS and medical experts have been warning time and time again that congestion KILLS. Last month, congestion claimed its biggest victim: Mar Roxas got “killed” in the last elections.

Of course, Roxas got killed figuratively speaking because he was mangled by his rival and eventual victor Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on the issue of very bad and worsening traffic situation especially in Metro Manila.

Unbelievably, unbearable traffic is all over: air, land and in our seaports.


INCOMPETENT

For six years the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino has slept on the job and failed to address the terrible congestion problem.

The public saw PNoy as an incompetent leader and a complete failure and it was not surprising therefore that the voters vented their ire on Roxas, his chosen one by trashing him in the polls.


HOPELESS

There is massive congestion in our airports, roads and in our piers.

Exercise of strong political will would have led to a solution of this problem.

But instead of hope, people saw deepening decay in our transportation system.

Political pundits could not be further from the truth when they opined that people were already exasperated and on the verge of hopelessness on the issue of traffic congestion- that triggered widespread resentment to PNoy’s anointed in the May elections.

That President-elect Rodrigo Duterte won by landslide was not unexpected.

Duterte was generally perceived to possess the political will needed to solve basic problems like poverty, criminality and even traffic congestion.

OpinYon believes the huge margin that Duterte posted over Roxas is equivalent to the depth of despair the people were suffering from traffic mess caused by congestion.

Not even the reported almost 7 percent economic growth the Philippines registered aside from being adjudged the best performing economy in Asia in the first quarter of this year could appease the hurting Filipinos.

The sad part is those economic gains were hardly felt by the people. The announcement of this achievement hardly mattered to most Filipinos, many unbelieving. And they have reasons for the incredibility.


COSTLY

Congestion problems in whatever form and means are costing the country billions of pesos in lost potential revenues and opportunities every day.

The congestion at the country’ main airport, NAIA, creating so much damage to the national economy is a reason enough for anyone to suspect the economic gains of almost 7 percent is nothing but a mirage.

In 2014, airline companies estimated that they were losing P 3.7 billion a year on fuel alone due to airport congestion. Another P3.7 billion a year for engine costs and aircraft time was reported.

These are direct costs of airlines that amount to over P7 billion a year two years ago.


ECONOMIC EFFECTS

Losses in business and other opportunity costs to passengers could easily run to hundreds of billions of pesos, experts say.

Transport and logistics systems are most important elements in deciding where investors will park their funds.


VULNERABLE SECTORS

Our nightmarish airport congestion surely has affected progress in the semi-conductor industry, where the country is supposed to be a leading preferred site for production.

The semi conductor industry is most vulnerable to disasters happening in our congested airports. Many are surely getting ready to pack up given our worsening woes in the transport system.

Another sector surely dying from airport congestion is agriculture. Farm products fail to reach on time to consumers in the country and abroad.

Economic experts estimate that losses from spoiled agriculture products due late deliveries run to tens of billions of pesos in addition to losing their respective markets.

Getting stuck in airports and inside airplanes, in tarmac and worse inside airplanes circling in wait for clearance to land is most stressful that businessmen surely want to avoid.

In statistics of airline passenger profile, the increase in passenger traffic mostly comes from OFWs, tourists and locals rather foreign businessmen visiting the country.

Travel experts say at best, the number of foreign investors visiting the country has remained static for years and has not increased, in fact even decreased due to airport congestion.


BILLIONS LOST DAILY

A report submitted by House Committee on Transportation and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the 2014 port congestion crisis resulted to economic losses of P2.5 billion a day.

On the other hand, a study conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) two years ago showed that Metro Manila’s notorious traffic jams cost the Philippine economy at least P3 billion a day which is more than 10 percent of the country’s gross regional domestic product.

Simply put, both port congestion and traffic jams significantly affect the overall economic competitiveness of the country especially in the global level.

 

NIGHTMARE

Aside from daily monstrous traffic gridlock and recurring port congestion problems, another area that needs to be addressed by the incoming Duterte government is the airport congestion.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the Asean Tourism Forum in December last year, President BS Aquino expressed eagerness to return to what he described as normal civilian life.

He was even excited of soon being a tourist in our country and” experience on a more personal level what millions have already realized and experienced while travelling here”.

If Citizen Noynoy expects that being a tourist in the Philippines is a breeze and a heavenly experience, then he would be in for a big surprise because it was anything but what he thought it to be.

In fact, for some local and foreign tourists visiting the country had been a nightmare because you have to spend several hours just to get to the airport and once inside you still have to spend hours waiting to board a plane.

Flight delays are all-too-common occurrences whether your flight is outbound or inbound.

 

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Friday, 13 December 2019
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