Are we finally replacing “The King of The Road” with this new modern version of the Jeepney called COMET???

When it comes to infrastructure and transportation in Asia, it is a fact that the Philippines lags behind its neighbors. It is a shame because year in and year out our country is actually generating income which is enough to support some of our needs but unfortunately a big part of the income ends up in the pockets of these unscrupulous politicians who are running our country. These monies could have been spent in improving our infrastructures and our transportation system. In order for us to compete with the rest of the world and for us to have the best infrastructures and transportation system that each and everyone of us deserve as citizens of this country the Philippines, I think we need to improve our infrastructures and our transportation system. This could be a very difficult and daunting endeavor but I believe it can be done if we all work together. Corruption is obviously a problem and a big hindrance to our progress. It is already ingrained in our culture and it is almost impossible to eradicate it but one of the things that we can do to fight this menace is maybe for us to create a mechanism of some sort that would deter people from stealing money from our country’s coffer such as passing the anti-corruption bills that are pending in congress – F.O.I. Bill (Freedom of Information Bill) , the Anti-Dynasty Bill, and among others. Punishing these crooks and thieves in the government and voting wisely when we elect our leaders could also make a big difference.

Many of our roads in the Philippines are in a very sorry state. Even newly paved roads especially in the provinces end up being useless because these roads do not last long due to the sub-standard labor and materials that are being used for the projects. In addition, these roads do not conform to international standards almost all the time. I do think that there is a need for the government to inspect all finished infrastructure projects and for the contractors to provide guarantees/warranties for all the work that they do regardless how small or how big the projects are to ensure that the finished projects would be safe and would last for awhile and most importantly to ensure that monies intended solely for projects would not end up in some people’s pockets.

The effect of having inadequate and poorly maintained roads and transportation system (if there is a system) in our country is a traffic that never ends. There is always traffic just about any time and any place now in the entire Metro Manila area. It is also a big problem in the other cities and towns all over the Philippines. The horrendous traffic, the “kotong cops”, hot tempered drivers, the drivers and pedestrians who do no follow traffic rules, street vendors, persistent beggars, flooding, etc. make driving in Manila a big challenge for a lot of people especially foreigners. When I am in Manila, I prefer taking the public transportation because I sometimes lose my calm when I drive there. I’ve learned that taking the public transportation is less hassle and a safer option for me. Until there is a solution to the country’s traffic woes, commuters, travelers, and motorists will continue to suffer everyday. The country will also continue to lose income because of the loss of productivity due to the traffic problem.

The good thing is the government finally realizes that we have a very serious traffic problem. Albeit slowly, they (the government) are now trying to find solutions to this perennial traffic problem. Actually , some of the projects they said that could alleviate the traffic congestion in Metro Manila have broken grounds such as the NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) and SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) Connector Project which would cut across Metro Manila connecting the two expressways and the NAIA Expressway that would go to all the airport terminals and to The Entertainment City that is presently rising along Manila Bay. The other projects that are in the planning stages are the rail extensions of LRT1 to Cavite and LRT2 to Antipolo, and the new MRT7 line that would run from Quezon City to Bulacan. However, knowing how things move in the Philippines, these projects will not be finished anytime soon. There is a possibility that some of these projects might not even materialize so expect for more traffic for the time being.

Lastly, some of you might not agree with me but I think the Jeepneys have to go. It is really about time for the Philippines to modernize its mass transportation system. We deserve an efficient system that is more safe, more reliable, and more comfortable than our current mode of transportation. The Philippine could be one of the last few countries on the planet with a very antiquated transportation system. Manila used to have a trolley system similar to the ones they have in Europe and the U.S. but that was abandoned only to be replaced by a very chaotic system called the Jeepneys. I wish they kept and maintained the trolley system because I think it is a much better system. The Jeepney is one of our country’s symbol but the Jeepneys are also polluting the air we breath and no doubt one of the main reasons why we have so much congestion on our road networks. That is why when the news about the E-Jeepneys starting to ply its first initial route in Quezon City came out a few weeks ago, almost everyone got excited because the possible replacement for the Jeepney system has finally arrived. The E-Jeepney and the old Jeepney are almost about the same size but there is no doubt that the E-Jeepney is the better and more appropriate PUV (public utility vehicle) for the Philippines in this day and age. Unlike the old Jeepney, E-Jeepney only stops at designated areas and there is no more cash being involved for the fare. Just tap the prepaid card that you bought from the station or at a kiosk at the entrance upon entering and leaving the vehicle. Inside the E-Jeepney, visibility is good and it is comfortable unlike the inside of the old Jeepney. You can actually stand up inside the E-Jeepney. The E-Jeepney runs without you hearing any noise and since it runs using a rechargeable battery, there is no emission which make this vehicle a more environment friendly than the old Jeepney hands down. Another advantage of this new system is the drivers are now being paid on salary basis complete with benefits instead of what they called boundary system where the driver has to pay the owner of the Jeepney certain amount called boundary and whatever amount the driver makes in excess of the boundary would be the driver’s income. The boundary system is actually the reason why Jeepney drivers compete with each other for passengers while on the road. They have to be more aggressive so they can have as many passengers as they can possibly pick up to make up for the boundary, and this is the reason why Jeepneys generate so much traffic jams in any city or town in the Philippines.

I hope that this E-Jeepney venture would thrive so it will eventually replace the outdated Jeepney system in the country.