Moratorium on car sales suggested to address traffic

A LAWMAKER has suggested a moratorium on car sales in anticipation of the infrastructure projects that will be implemented in the coming months.

Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento said doing so would lessen the traffic problems while there are ongoing improvements. He was quoted in a report saying the increasing number of private cars may be a stumbling block.

“If we will start constructing all the needed infrastructure, it’s going to eat up space,” Sarmiento noted. “That’s the problem...With all of these cars on the road – while the road is not increasing – how do we go about it?,” said Sarmiento in one of the committee hearings on transportation.

The House of Representatives is holding hearings on whether to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the country’s traffic problem in three years.

Sought for comment, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Glenn Anthony Soco said regulation and enforcement of vehicle ownership needs to be strengthened to address traffic congestion. He said the country needs a comprehensive policy on vehicle ownership.

“There is no amount of roads or infrastructure enough if the number of vehicles that ply the streets continue to increase. We need a more comprehensive policy on vehicle ownership that will not only address new vehicles but also older vehicles, with emphasis on road worthiness,” said Soco.

The business leader mentioned that a good model for the Philippines to emulate is Singapore, where one needs a certificate of entitlement (COE) to own a car. Singapore also has an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system which is an electronic toll collection scheme adopted to manage traffic by way of road pricing and as a usage-based taxation mechanism to complement the purchase-based COE system.

Losses

If copied, Soco said two systems have to be complemented with an effective mass transport system, efficiently planned and designed road network with well built sidewalks and walkways.

A 2012 study done by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) revealed that traffic in Metro Cebu costs businesses P132 million in lost work hours.

The Jica report added the country could lose up to P6 billion a day by 2030 if it cannot solve its worsening traffic problem.

In its proposed road map for 2030, Jica stressed the need for an integrated urban mass transit network, with an efficient railway system making up a large part of the public transport mix.

The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said the number cars sold have increased significantly in the last six years.

From 168,000 cars sold in 2010, the number has increased to 269,000 cars in 2014 and to 350,000 cars in 2015.

Campi projected that total industry sales for this year is expected to reach 360,000 units.

Michael Ryan Goho, executive vice-president of Gateway Motors (Cebu), in previous interviews said the low downpayment rates and the easy and flexible financing terms offered by banks have attracted more consumers to purchase more vehicles.
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