GUEST EDITORIAL| Transportation and Roads

MOHENJO Daro was an ancient metropolis in what is now Sind Province in Pakistan, located in what is known as the Indus Valley. If Mohenjo Daro existed today, this ancient metropolis would have been more than 5,000 years old. Venice is an old city, that has been around for 1,600 years. This water borne city has been continuously occupied, and has managed to sustain itself even if the city does not have a single paved Highway.

Both settlements serve as objective lessons on how the movement of people and goods need to be properly addressed. Mohenjo Daro as a lesson on – the failure of traffic management, and Venice on – successful transport infrastructure planning and management.

Cities in the Philippines are very much not like Mohenjo Daro or even close to Venice. Philippine cities are established on – LAND, and roads can be widened or even elevated. Yet Filipinos living in Philippine cities spend more 3 to 4 hours every weekday traveling on the road between house and workplace or school. If each person needs eight hours of adequate sleep, and 4 hours to prepare for the day and then unwind in the evening, three hours of time on the road is such a waste. The cost of traveling is another concern. Each person spends at least P20 each day to pay for a trip. Since the average Filipino Family size is five, a minimum of P100 is spent by every family. The lowest possible wage for a working age Filipino is P280.

The cost of travel already eats up more than 15% of a family’s budget. A salary increase would most likely mean that a family has to relocate to a place that pays a higher wage, but the cost of travel also increases. Whatever is gained by an increase in the family income, gets lost to the cost of travel. Travel cost directly affects every Filipino family’s quality of life and capacity to choose what is best for the family.

These figures are based on reality. The economic impact of the travel cost between the home and the workplace or school is hidden and never discussed. What is NOT discussed or talked about gets forgotten in development planning.

Venice does not have roads, yet transportation services are well managed. Filipinos living in the city can choose to move out, and stay in places that are less congested. Then after a while, the new place gets congested. We cannot let this become a repeated reaction to city congestion.

There is an imperative need to properly manage transportation and roads in Philippine cities. Transportation planning HAS TO BE done properly, or Phlippine cities suffer the fate of Mohenjo Daro.

(By: EnP Patrick Jerome S. Guasa, PIEP)

Posted in Opinion