Updated Jan 28, 2019, 6:07:29 AM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — Three senatorial candidates believe that decentralization is the permanent solution to the perennial problem of traffic congestion in the country's capital.
During CNN Philippines' second senatorial forum in Quezon City Sunday, Former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares said the government should provide "economic and industrialization programs" to provinces outside Metro Manila.
"Dapat po hindi dito nakikita ang lahat, sentro na sya ng gobyerno, sentro ng trabaho at business, dapat po spread 'yan sa countryside," Colmenares said.
Liberal Party (LP) bet Erin Tañada, meanwhile, called for the implementation of a national minimum wage as he sees low salary as the main reason that drives people to work in the National Capital Region.
"Bakit pumupunta sa Metro Manila ang taong bayan? Dahil mataas ang sweldo dito. Kailangan po nating tignan ang minimum wage po natin, kung kailangang magkaroon ng isang minimum wage sa buong Pilipinas, 'yun po ang magdi-disperse sa mga tao sa probinsya," Tañada said.
Aside from more job opportunities, Samira Gutoc--also from LP--said the government should transfer some of its offices outside the Metro.
"Many of government offices are based in the NCR, the MMDA has to work with regional planning offices on how we can study cascading opportunities in the provinces. We are going to have to think seriously to transfer some government offices to the provinces as well," she said.
As a temporary solution, Colmenares said corruption in the traffic sector should be addressed as it leads to disorder in public roads.
"May corruption sa traffic po, na sabi nila pag nagalay ka makakalusot ka. 'Yun ang nangyayari kaya may disorder sa street maliban sa punto na kulang talaga ng kalsada at hindi yan supported ngayon," he said.
Colmenares also urged the government to establish and operate more mass transit infrastructure instead of privatizing them to give commuters more options and lower fare prices.
Tañada, meanwhile, proposed to slash the operators of buses that ply along Edsa to just one company.
"Bawasan po natin ang number of buses that go through Edsa, kung pwede lang nga isang bus company lang po ang mag-operate sa Edsa. Nakikita na po natin ang point-to-point gumagana, ipalaganap po natin sa Edsa 'yan," Tañada said. "Ang problema po ngayon maraming bus operators ang nago-operate sa Edsa at importanteng masagot 'yan."
On the issue of air traffic congestion, Colmenares, Tañada, and Gutoc were also in chorus in saying that the government should invest in establishment of new air terminals outside Metro Manila.
"The traffic congestion ay nandyan sa design mismo, pero more than that ang ating transportation sa Pilipinas hindi naman natin nae-encourage 'yung pag-develop ng infrastructure sa airport, pwedeng ayusin yan at kung ilagay ang airport somewhere outside Metro Manila, okay yan dalhin doon," Colmenares said.
"Subic and other locations where we can expand our airports is necessary. We should have our planners look at alternative locations for our airport as well," Gutoc said.
For Tañada, addressing air traffic congestion is a matter of "political will."
"As early as 1992 kailangan nakita na ng previous administrations 'yung pangaganailangan ng bagong airport sa isang bansang lumalkai ang populasyon. Eh hanggang ngayon drawing pa rin, mabuti nga merong drawing na gagawin ang Clark, gagawin sa may Cavite o sa may Bulacan," Tanada said.
"Ang kailangan lang talaga wag nang tiganan ng kahit sino mang pangulo na kailangang matatak sa kanilang pangalan na sila ay gumawa ng airpot. Gawin na lang nila yan kung anong administrasyon matatapos po ang airport na yan," he added.