THE traffic problem in the Philippines has become so huge that one agency cannot hope to solve it alone. The solution can only come from the collective effort of several groups -- from both the government and the private sector -- that will together come up with a workable, feasible traffic plan.
This is the gist of what inclusive mobility champion and Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca said in a talk during the recent Roads and Traffic Expo -- the first-ever conference that provides a platform for public and private stakeholders.
Angkas, the first app-based motorcycle ride-hailing service in the country, participated in the expo to discuss sustainable solutions that address the malignant traffic congestion problem in the Philippines.
In a study done by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the agency projects that the Philippines will lose P5.4 billion every day by 2035 if the traffic congestion problem is not properly addressed.
The two-day Roads and Traffic Expo saw discussions on holistic solutions from public and private partners that addressed not only traffic management but the entire ecosystem that led to the mismanaged state of the transport sector today.
Royeca joined a discussion panel in the expo with Ariel Lim, Former Presidential Assistant on Public Transport Affairs; Winnie Castelo, Councilor 2nd District of Quezon City, Former Congressman and Chairman of Congressional Committee on Metro Manila Development; Atty. Ariel Inton, Head of Quezon City Task Force for Transport and Traffic Management, Former Director of LTFRB, and moderator Amor Maclang, director of Transport Watch.
The panel discussed best practices on public-private partnerships in addressing the lack of mobility in the country’s cities as well as affordable, inclusive, and efficient transport options.
During the discussion, Royeca emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sector in providing better transport options. “We at Angkas are dedicated to providing a safe, reliable, and affordable transport option for everyone, and we will do whatever it takes to continue doing so,” Royeca declared.
“Angkas is not the be-all, end-all solution to traffic -- no single agency or company can do that. But because of our current partnership with DoTr, we’ve shown that we can at least ease the traffic by providing an inclusive transport option,” he added.
Angkas, which is currently on a government-sanctioned pilot run, has become a case study for the successful partnership between a private enterprise and government agencies. In June 2019, Angkas was granted by the Department of Transportation a six-month trial run that legally allowed the service to operate in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
All 27,000 biker-partners were swiftly trained on new safety protocol to comply with the mandated requirements of the DOTr Technical Working Group (TWG). Thus far, Angkas has maintained its 99.997% safety record despite initial speculation from government bodies on its safety.
“This is why we will continue to work with all stakeholders involved -- because we believe the problem can only be resolved if public and private stakeholders work together to come up with a comprehensive solution,” Royeca stressed.
“Financial losses incurred from delays caused by traffic affect both individuals and institutions. Before people even get to work, they are already exhausted from their commute,” Royeca shared. “Filipinos deserve better. Our hard work and perseverance, despite all odds, are admirable, but we need to address the problem and give Filipinos a better quality of life,” he added.
Angeline Tham, the CEO and Founder of Angkas, joined the second day of the trade show to talk about the role of safe and inclusive mobility options in building more sustainable cities. The Roads and Traffic Expo was held at the SMX Convention Center in Manila on October 1 and 2 and provided a platform for government agencies and private partners to discuss these solutions.