Senatorial candidates on March 12 presented their solutions for commuter woes before ‘The Rundown’, as workers returning to the office brave Metro Manila traffic under Alert Level 1.
When asked how to improve the commute for Filipinos and lessen car dependence in the new normal, senatorial candidate Astra Pimentel said subsidized transportation and the promotion of active transport must be prioritized.
“Nakita natin ang kahalagahan ng government-subsidized transportation system as well as yung mga sinasabing nating pag-promote ng bike lanes, lalo na yung areas in the Philippines that are bike-friendly and yung walking also, i-improve natin and syempre yung pamahalaan naman natin must have a subsidized transportation para sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na yung mga mahihirap,” she said.
Human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares said the responsibility of running mass transport systems for the public should fall on the shoulders of the government, and not on the private sector.
“Ang unang solusyon diyan is mass public transport. Eh hindi pwedeng privatized ang ating transportation industry. Yung halimbawa, mga tren, yung nagdadala ng maraming tao. Pangalawa, bakit naman privatized ang transportation system natin? May mga bagay-bagay na dapat gobyerno ang nagpapalakad,” he said.
Colmenares also pushed for the regulation of gasoline prices, which have been soaring due to the Russia-Ukraine war: “I-repeal na yang deregulation law. Dapat di tataas ang gasolina, may hearing bago sila magtaas ng gasolina.“
Senatorial candidate Roy Cabonegro from Partido Lakas ng Masa forwarded sustainability for the country’s transport system.
“Sa sustenableng transportasyon, mahalaga po na una, mass transport talaga. Electric mass transport. Dapat 100% renewable energy muna ang pinanggagalingan ng enerhiyang pangkalahatan.
“Pangalawa, ang ideya ng Grab, nitong sharing, share-a-ride yan dapat, hindi komersyalisado. Ang dapat gawin dyan, magtayo ang estado ng isang orihinal na ideya niya. Sino ang gustong mag-share dahil gusto lamang niya ay gagamit ng app, walang bayad? Nagpapatakbo, estado. Yang ang purpose niyang share-a-ride, yan ang orihinal.
“Pangatlo, yung delivery system natin na motorized delivery, kailangan palitan natin yan ng non-motorized pero networks of such, para kahit malalayo ay pwede,” he said.
In a yes-or-no round, all but one of the 19 senatorial candidates present said they were in favor of legalizing motorcycle taxis, colloquially called angkas or habal-habal.