De Guzman-Bello tandem discusses people-centric transportation systems

As COVID-19 cases decrease, the call for improving the country’s public transport system is amplified. With this, Move As One Coalition Philippines invited presidential candidate Leody de Guzman and running mate Walden Bello to discuss their plans on mobility and transportation in an event titled #TranspoTalks2022, held via Facebook Live last March 18. 

Safety for commuters

On ensuring a safe and effective public transport system, Bello emphasized the need to invest in modernizing public utility vehicles. “Alam naman natin na meron [na] ‘yung mga programang ganito. Bigyan naman ng sapat na equity na 25 percent, for instance, instead na napakaliit na investment,” he said. 

(We all know that we have programs like this. Twenty-five percent, for instance, should be given for enough equity instead of a small investment.)

Moreover, de Guzman highlighted the importance of the transportation sector and its crucial role in the citizens’ everyday life. He proposed an increase in the budget for widening the roads to make way for bicycle and pedestrian lanes. Additionally, Bello furthered, “At ‘yung focus talaga [natin] ay ‘yung road widening para dun sa mga pedestrians.” 

(Our focus will be road widening projects that will benefit pedestrians.)

Both de Guzman and Bello agreed that increasing the budget for the public transportation sector will benefit commuters. “Maari naman ilagay [funds] doon sa economic activities for the budget that are really important for the country kasi ang dami talaga diyan useless expenses in the budget,” Bello asserted. 

(We can allocate funds for economic activities—those really important for the country—because a lot of the budget goes to useless expenses.)

Protecting transport workers

The tandem said they aim to give more attention to transportation workers, especially to the elderly. Bello highlighted that social security must be assured among them, as well as an adequate salary.

Sa tingin ko talaga, marami hong reporma ang kailangan para sa mga transport workers, pero the government must deliver at its end,” Bello stated.

(In my opinion, much reform is needed for the transport workers, but the government must deliver at its end.) 

With regard to protecting workers, the aspirants affirmed that they are not in favor of how the administration has handled the latest public transportation issues.

Due to the recent spikes in gas prices, several ride-hailing drivers have filed petitions to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to increase minimum fares, which were eventually rejected. The government sought to distribute fuel subsidies instead. 

Ang pinakamabilis [na solusyon] diyan, alisin ‘yung excise tax at tsaka yung [value-added tax] doon sa produktong petrolyo,” de Guzman asserted. 

(The fastest solution is to remove excise tax and value-added tax in petroleum products.)

Moreover, Bello mentioned that the government must intervene and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law in order to “have a semblance of control over oil price increases.”

De Guzman also explained that they believe the P6,000 monthly subsidy for transportation workers is enough based on his own count. 

Mas worry namin ni [Bello], mabibigyan ba ng lahat ‘yung mga driver?…Baka naman 30 percent lang [ng mga tagamaneho] ang mabibigyan,” he expressed.

(Bello and I are worried, will the drivers receive all of it?…Maybe only 30 percent of the transportation workers will be given.)

Public officials urged to commute

As part of their plan, the contenders will require other cabinet members to take public transportation at least once a week, should they get the positions. They even urged younger politicians to try biking to work.

“I think ‘yung experience ng commuting ay dapat talaga maranasan ng lahat ng public officials natin. First step ‘yan…hindi lang once a week but more times during the week,” Bello elaborated. “Siguro it might be important na ma-reduce talaga ang reliance nila on the use of cars,” he furthered.

(I think all public officials should experience commuting. That’s the first step…they should commute more than once a week, more times during the week. It might be important to reduce public officials’ reliance on the use of cars.)

If elected, de Guzman also claimed that he and Bello can change the public transportation system in two years. Politicians would no longer need to commute afterward.

Dahil i-improve namin ‘yung sistema ng transportasyon, baka after three, two years ay hindi na [kailangan mag-commute ang mga politiko]I-resolve namin ni [Bello] ‘yung problem ng mga pasahero,” de Guzman promised.

(Because we will improve the transportation system, maybe after three, two years, there will be no need for the politicians to commute…Bello and I will resolve the commuters’ problems.)

Sophia De Jesus

By Sophia De Jesus

Margarette Mangabat

By Margarette Mangabat

Leave a Reply