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Early release of bonus sought to ease traffic

The government and the private sector were urged yesterday to release before December the 13th month pay and Christmas bonus of Metro Manila workers to help ease monstrous traffic jams that are usual sights during the Christmas season.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, made the proposal as he also appealed to shopping mall operators to devise their own methods of addressing the traffic crisis, saying that this would also be good for their business.

Castelo said the early distribution of 13th month pay and Christmas bonus to workers will allow employees to shop earlier before the Yuletide.

He said people who receive their incentives earlier will avoid the perennial holiday rush that leads to congested streets.

“If employers give their employees their 13th month pay and bonuses, say, in the first week of November, people can schedule their shopping earlier before traffic peaks in the three weeks leading to Christmas,” Castelo explained.

Castelo added: “We can then prevent ‘carmageddon,’ a situation when traffic is at a virtual standstill as if it’s the end of the world.”

Aside from Castelo’s proposal, the Metro Manila Development Authority has also disclosed it will pursue various plans that could guarantee lesser vehicle volume during Christmas.

One is the imposition of the number coding scheme that would lift window hours, thus, ban vehicles on a 24-hours basis.

Castelo said the MMDA plan and other proposals should be studied carefully so that implementation will be successful.

He said releasing workers’ 13th month pay and bonuses a month ahead of the traditional practice will help spread out the shopping days of people over a longer period and avoid huge influx of people to the malls, all of which are located on EDSA and other major thoroughfares. (Ben R. Rosario)