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Palace, group suggest carpooling to ease Metro Manila traffic


For Malacañang and a group of private school administrators, carpooling may be the best way to deal with the anticipated heavy traffic that will be caused by the Skyway 3 project.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. also urged companies to consider flexitime and home office arrangements for their employees, noting that these “voluntary remedial measures” can contribute in easing traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“We renew our call that we share in the burden of sacrifice, and bear with the short-term inconvenience, so we can reap the benefits of faster travel and higher productivity,” he said.

In an interview with GMA News Online, Eleazardo Kasilag, head of the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA), said instead of reducing school days, carpooling to and from schools and offices should be made mandatory to help ease traffic while road construction in Metro Manila is ongoing.

“Dapat ipagbawal ang mga sasakyan na isa lang ang laman, makakadagdag lang sa traffic kung paisa-isa," he said. “Unless may emergency, dapat bawal 'yan from Monday to Saturday.”

Kasilag also said carpooling can also help save on gas and is not susceptible to robbers. “At least, kilala niyo ang mga kasama niyo sa carpool,” he noted.

No to four-day school week

Kasilag made the proposal as an alternative to the four-day school week proposed by Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino.

Tolentino recommended to the Department of Education (DepEd) a Monday-to-Thursday school week for all elementary and high schools in Metro Manila.
 
According to Tolentino's proposal, the shortened school week will take effect for two years if approved by the DepEd, while major infrastructure projects in the metro are under construction.

Kasilag said FAPSA is opposed to the proposal as it may affect the quality of education.  

“Kung ikaw parent at magbabayad ng mahal, hindi ka ba mababahala na mababawasan ang araw ng eskwela," he said. “144 class days out of 365 days in a year na lang ang matitira, hindi man lang nangalahati.”

Malacañang has earlier said it will consult the DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) regarding the four-day school week proposal.

Traffic management plans
 
Coloma, meanwhile, said the MMDA and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have prepared traffic management plans to address the problem, including road widening and rerouting schemes.

“Matagal-tagal na rin namang nasa drawing board ang mga planong ito, at habang pinaplano pa lamang, meron nang advance information ang ating DPWH at MMDA," he said, referring to the Skyway project, which will complete the Metro Manila Skyway System from Alabang to Balintawak.

The 14.8-kilometer elevated expressway is envisioned to decongest traffic in Metro Manila, especially C4 (EDSA), C5 (C.P. Garcia) and Central Metro Manila and cut down travel time from Buendia to Balintawak to 20 minutes, Makati to Quezon City to 15 minutes; Makati to Manila to 10 minutes, and Makati to Sta. Mesa to 5 minutes.

Coloma said it is up to the public to judge if the government is prepared enough to deal with the traffic problem that may arise from the massive road construction project.

“Pagpasyahan ninyo na lang. Pagpasyahan ng bayan kung naging sapat. Anuman ang aming sasabihin, tiyak na mayroong magkakaroon ng ibang pananaw na ginagalang din naman natin,” he said. — KBK, GMA News
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