Uploaded by Rickson Albez

Red Light Reaction Paper

Rickson C. Albez
Reaction Paper on Red Light
September 26, 2019
On the Move: The Filipino Commuters and the Philippine Transportation System
The talk was entitled Red Light: A Sociological Perspective on the Challenges of
Philippine Public transport. Professor Marie Danielle V. Guillen, PhD, a Sociology major from
University of the Philippines Diliman and a part-time professor in Ateneo de Manila University,
was assigned as the speaker of this event. The reactor was Professor Girlie Nora A. Abrigo, MA,
a sociologist that specializes rural and urban sociology from University of the Philippines Los
Baños. This event was made possible by the UP Alliance of Students Unified for Sociology (UP
I. Introduction
In the beginning of the talk, Professor Guillen had cleared the definition of transportation
and mobility. She had emphasized that transportation is basic: moving stuff and people;
however, mobility is more than that. To have mobility is to have access. Getting to places
necessary for living a healthy life – one’s job, school, doctor’s offices, community centers, parks
– is possible. Nevertheless, living by a bus that comes once an hour is neither mobility nor
owning a car in a city with congested highways. With that said, mobility is not just having access
to one mode of transportation. Mobility is having transportation options, and the quality of those
options (Fortunati, 2018).
In short, mobility is access. Mobility is having transportation options that one can count
on to get where he needs to go. Without mobility, transportation is meaningless. Improving
people’s mobility should be the goal of any transportation project.
II. State of Public Transport in the Philippines
Our public transport system is deemed unsafe, unhealthy, unreliable, and uncomfortable.
67% of Public Utility Buses (PUBs) and Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) serve the demand of
commuters, but only 28% of road space is utilized. PUJs dominate road-based public transport:
180,000 PUJs nationwide, with 90% are 15 years old and above (LTFRB); 17% ambient air
pollution in Metro Manila and up to 80% in other cities due to PUJs; and PUJ passengers are 10
times more likely to get into accidents than private car riders (Delgra, 2018).
Due to these said circumstances, PHP2.4 billion was lost in 2014 due to traffic congestion
alone. Traffic congestion creates distress and discomfort when commuting, and that is why
almost every Filipino’s dream is to have a car, producing more and more vehicles present in the
road. Some of the outcomes of this transportation problem include widespread competition
among various transport models and overlapping routes, no hierarchy of modes, low-capacity
vehicles in high-demands areas lead to reduced road capacity, and prevalence of low and over
supply of public transport.
III. Philippine Government’s PUV Modernization Policy
The road-based public transportation reform program, famously known as the PUV
Modernization, is a transformational large-scale initiative and the largest non-infra flagship
project of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, It envisions a restructured, modern, well-managed, and
environmentally sustainable transport sector where drivers and operators have stable, sufficient,
and dignified livelihoods while commuters get to their destinations quickly, safely, and
comfortably (DOTr, 2017).
According to LTFRB (2017), in order to soften the impact and assist small operators who
will be affected by the PUVMP, a special loan program with Landbank and DBP is proposed to
provide access to operators and drivers to adequate funding. Stakeholders are also proposed to
have access to various trainings and social support programs which will be offered to enable
them to be competent, self-sufficient and well-equipped with the necessary technical knowledge
and skills.
Change is already coming. This proposition in the modernization of our daily transport
would drastically affect our society – as the government said, for the betterment of all the lives of
Filipinos inside the Philippines. However, in my mind, the question repeatedly echoes: Are we
ready now?
IV. Sociology of Transport and the Sustainable Transportation Framework
Sustainable transport entails expansion of levels of service, diversification of
transportation modes, a balanced land-use plan, more efficient use of energy and low polluting
technologies, reduction of health and safety risks, reduction of negative environmental impact
and integrating the concept of social equity and citizen participation (CCISSTP, 2004).
With the aim of the Philippine National Environmentally Sustainable Transport Energy
Strategy (PH NEST-E) to reform the transport sector to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, I
can personally say that this is a new paradigm in the movement of men and things. The system it
promotes will favor non-motorized locomotion and collective transportation system. In effect,
DOTC and DPWH shall transform immediately roads. If implemented properly, the Filipino
commuters would experience more effective and sustainable transportation, leading to a more
convenient travels and less volume of private vehicles in our national highways.
V. Initiatives/Actions Needed
Clearly, there are still lots of initiatives and actions needed to resolve this worsening
traffic condition in our country. There is a need for more sociological research, both quantitative
and qualitative. Advocates with specific actions such as the Firefly Brigade, Alt Mobility,
Commuters of the Philippines, Bike Scouts, and Bike for the Philippines, are highly encouraged
to broaden their target audience so that more people are informed with what their mission and
vision are.
To accept conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them – that is
the challenge for each and every Filipino’s mindset that change should start from within.
DELGRA, M.B. (2018). State of Public Transport System in the Philippines. Retrieved
September 27, 2019 from https://www.changing-transport.org/wp-content/uploads/TCCWeek_Philippines_State-of-Public-Transport-Systems.pdf.
FORTUNATI, J. (2018). Mobility doesn’t mean the same thing as transportation. Retrieved
September 27, 2019 from https://mobilitylab.org/2018/07/26/what-is-mobility/.
Modernization. Retrieved September 27, 2019 from http://ltfrb.gov.ph/index.php/puvmodernization-2/