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Anti-car bias

Cars cause traffic. Right. Like matrimony causes divorce.

There’s an anti-car bias out there. The plan to increase the excise tax on fuel from under P4/liter to P10 is the biggest worrier for owners of cars as well as those dreaming of finally owning one (if only to save themselves from the daily risk of riding on MRT-LRT). Bills and proposals from out of nowhere seek to restrict car ownership, e.g., no-garage-no-car, blaming cars for air pollution, limiting the hours of private cars on EDSA, etc.

Add a new odd-even scheme in Pasig and Parañaque, inspired by the MMDA example before it became the unified vehicle volume reduction program, which was initially labeled an experiment until the “p” came to stand for permanently. A side-effect of UVVRP, aka number coding, born during the FVR administration, was an unintended surge in the number of new cars sold to affluent families – they could afford an extra car to make up for that one carless day.

Call it Carmageddon, Apocarlypse, or Carfuffle, traffic has been with us since the ‘70s. Way back when, the economist Ding Lichauco predicted that with the way traffic was building up without new roads being built, drivers and passengers would be all dressed up with nowhere to go, stuck in the biggest parking lot known as Epifanio de los Santos Ave., the Epiphany of All Saints. Whatever’s tying up the current hearings at the Senate on granting emergency powers to the government appears to be due to a reluctance on the part of the legislative branch to allot trillions to the executive – allot of money to give, without the assurance that spending it will surely and definitely dissipate the crisis.

Senator Ralph Recto, memory keeper of the DU30 campaign, wants to punish agencies that have not cut queues, red tape, and response time. Firemen to respond within seven minutes and cops to arrive at a crime scene within 15? LTO car plates in seven days and land titles from Land Registration Authority in 20 days (20 from 400, wow!)? As the people know only too well, those agencies can always blame the traffic.