Filipinos continue to lose not only their patience with worsening traffic conditions, but also their hard-earned money.
Based on the most recent Transport Infrastructure Roadmap Study for Mega Manila prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), traffic congestion in Metro Manila now costs about PhP 3.5 Billion in lost opportunities and potential incomes daily, a 46% increase from the PhP 2.4 Billion figure posted in the 2012 study.
In response to worsening traffic and mobility across many parts of the country, the Duterte administration has lined-up more than 70 major infrastructure projects under its ambitious "Build, Build, Build Program." However, while long-term solutions such as infrastructure development are being implemented, many Filipinos are seeking more immediate measures that would ease them of the financial stress brought about by traffic.
The costs directly and indirectly related to traffic weigh heavily on the pockets of ordinary Filipinos, particularly on the country’s middle class.
Many employees in the private sector have been forced to bring their own vehicles in going to work due to our poor and unreliable mass transportation system. This has significantly increased the volume of private vehicles plying through EDSA and other main highways during rush hours, particularly on roads leading to the Metro’s business districts. Easily, the costs in using a private car under these conditions would include hefty fuel costs & parking fees, expensive maintenance costs due to frequent usage, and health costs brought about by immense headache and stress. In spite of these, many employees prefer to shoulder significantly heftier costs in using private cars rather than taking an inexpensive but hassle-loaded commute.
Due to massive traffic in the major business districts in Metro Manila, many in the working class have opted to purchase condominium units near their places of work just to spare themselves from the daily grind of traveling to work. Although there are financing mechanisms available to ease the financial pressure on purchasing condominium units, the down payment amount required is still generally in millions. Had traffic been bearable than what it is today, this option would not have been considered by many private employees.
Unnecessary, unwanted and added traffic expenses, whether recorded or unrecorded, do not only take away money from our wallets but also diminish our quality of life. Thankfully, we have been able to survive and carry on despite these circumstances.
However, it is not far-fetched that deaths or fatalities may happen as a result of traffic. Hopefully, the government would exercise foresight to prevent this from taking place.