I have had the opportunity to meet some of the dedicated people that make up the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (IACT) when they presented to a business organization, in their drive to get private support, their concept on how the group intends to help mitigate the ever-worsening traffic problem that costs the country billions every day.
I was impressed with their holistic approach, which goes beyond the strict implementation of traffic rules and regulations by well-trained and better equipped traffic enforcers to a well-thought of multi-media information campaign that would be geared towards a wider spectrum of road users from drivers, to commuters, pedestrians, bikers-the general motoring public. Although I still have to see this extensive media campaign implemented, its mere grand and detailed design is quite remarkable enough to begin with.
But as of this writing, I'm a little apprehensive with what has been reported that the IACT intends to do tomorrow, Monday of this week, which is to do a dry run of their campaign against smoke belching and dilapidated private and public utility vehicles.
Tagged as "tanggal usok, tanggal bulok", the IACT, which is composed of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO),Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will flag down such vehicles, not for the purpose of apprehending but just to warn that the crack down on these vehicles shall start very soon. IACT intends to do these "warning flag downs" on main roads like EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon Avenue and Marcos Highway.
I remember sometime back, similar campaigns were held by different government agencies like the MMDA, DNER, LGUs on different places and at different schedules and what horrendous traffic they caused on top of what was already clogging thoroughfares then. With the present worsened traffic situation these "warning flag downs" would inevitably cause it to get worst. Please, not again.
Perhaps instead of going through this all over again, this would be the right time to go full blast with the IACT's multi media information campaign with special emphasis on the implementation of the anti smoke belching and dilapidated vehicles campaign instead of causing more traffic.
It was also reported that the planned implementation would also eventually mean the flagging down of vehicles that appear to be smoke belching or dilapidated and require their owners to bring these vehicles to the LTO within 24 hours to undergo and pass roadworthiness tests before being allowed back to run on the streets.
I appreciate the rationale or justification of the campaign, which according to IACT is in adherence to President Duterte's marching orders to the agencies "to fix the road worthiness of vehicles". But with all due respect to IACT, this move to solve a problem is creating a much bigger problem.
Known to a few, there is a solution that is already in place to solve the problem of "running coffins" on our roads as well as vehicles that could kill with their toxic emissions—the MVIS or the Motor Vehicle Inspection System centers— except that there aren't enough. And for the very few that exists (there are three I gathered for all of the country's hundreds of thousands PUVs) all of them need to be upgraded if not totally overhauled.
If we had enough working MVIS centers in the country that would strictly disallow PUVs that are dilapidated or smoke belchers from being registered and ply their routes, IACT wouldn't have to flag down vehicles and further contribute to the already mind unsettling traffic problems that the government has and the citizens have to endure as a daily way of life.
Think about it. It makes sense.
There are no ifs and buts about it. The government is dead serious in its jeepney modernization program, which is targeted to have its full implementation in three years time as assured by no less than DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade regardless of threatened transportation paralyzing nationwide strikes by militant transport groups.
But reading through the list of promised improvements and standards of the modernized jeepneys worries me a bit if they would really be met.
Take stock of the following standard features of the modern jeepney that would be powered by solar, electricity or only Euro 4 compliant fossil fuel-run engines, which would replace our cultural icon for public transport, such as free wifi, CCTV cameras, automated fare collection, speed limiters, exit door on the right instead of at the back, PWD ready, to name some. Can the government assure the commuting public and those drivers and operators that would be displaced by its modernization program that all these would be found in the modern jeepney?
If the answer is a firm and committed yes, than I guess the program would indeed be successful as the old jeepneys would eventually meet a natural death with the riding public deciding its fate. The government would probably not have to resort to radical and unpopular means as the drivers and operators themselves would not need to be convinced as fewer and fewer commuters would opt not to ride in dilapidated and unsafe transport. In a short time maintaining old jalopies for public transport would no longer be viable as a business enterprise.
All the government has to do it to deliver what's promised and the riding public would see you through a resounding success.
That's how convenient it is now to find out the latest transportation and traffic management news, vehicle maintenance and road safety tips, international motorsports events, together with all the other varied facets of motoring just by clicking on www.motoringtoday.ph .
While for reviews of the latest automobile models as well as head-to-head comparisons of their features, car launches and test drive events, and anything and everything about the automobile and its industry there's www.autofocus.com.ph .
Both websites are the online versions of the TV magazine shows Motoring Today and Auto Focus and they offer the best of both worlds to viewers—a choice of selective viewing of portions or watching the entire episode on its 'TV streaming page' to include past episodes as well any time of the day.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.
At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network’s AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart’s middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN’s DZYL and DZQL.
From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.
In the early 70’s, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).
In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports’ living legend Pocholo Ramirez.
After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN’s Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable’s Channel 13.
The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport’s hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.
In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry’s latest technological developments.
In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star’s business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.
Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.
Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)