Traffic Is Caused By High Car Sales Says Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras

‘A mountain had gone into labour and was groaning terribly. Such rumors excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse.’  — Phaedrus

Well… Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras didn’t exactly say it that way but that is the essence of what he said in a TV interview on ANC’s beyond politics. Here is what he said:

“I think the reason why traffic got really bad was car sales were really something else,” he said in an interview with Lynda Jumilla on ANC’s Beyond Politics.

(See full article here http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/09/15/too-many-cars-palace-eyes-restrictions-private-vehicles-edsa#.VfAgJXDLc90.facebook)

Uhmmm… What?!

Thing is though, such bafflingly stupid statements by Aquino’s officials are quite expected. In fact, if someone searched for all of those statements and put it together in a book, it would probably rival the sales of former President Joseph Estrada’s joke book Eraptions.

Sorry, Secretary Almendras, you are wrong.

pnoy-noynoy-aquino-mitsubishi-motors-inauguration-GMA-robert-vinasThe reason why vehicle sales have gone up is most probably because the capital region doesn’t have the kind of public mass transport system which would make it unnecessary for them to have cars.

It may come as a shock to you, but we do not have a TRUE public mass transport system.

For something to be a system, things have to be organized in such a way that each part works together to do one thing. In the case of a public mass transport system, that one thing is to transport large numbers of people from one place to another.

What we do have are hundreds of thousands of different kinds of public utility vehicles competing with one another for passengers and space on the same road network. That’s perhaps another reason why it seems appropriate that traffic gridlock in the country’s capital region is called “traffick-geddon” or “carma-geddon”.

Thing is, in order for the capital region to have a public mass transport system, changes have to be made that will affect tens of thousands of public vehicle franchise holders and that’s something a politician will avoid even broaching.

This is because, to me at least, a public mass transportation system should have at least five characteristics:

  • different modes of public transport should function together and do not compete with one another. This can imply that major thoroughfares like EDSA or Common Wealth Avenue will only have buses, jeeps will be limited to secondary streets, and tricycles will have to be done away with completely. Large subdivisions should have a shuttle system for their residents.
  • public transportation routes should connect rather than overlap. This can imply that public vehicle routes will all have the same length. As it is, there are jeeps and buses that ply routes from Baclaran to Cubao but at the same time there are jeeps and buses that ply shorter routes between Baclaran and Cubao.
  • terminals, stops, and covered walkways should be an integral part of the public transport system to discourage people from embarking/disembarking anywhere they please. The thing that causes traffic to slow down is when one vehicle suddenly stops or slows down at the head of a queue. If public vehicles can be made to strictly use terminals and stops to load/unload passengers, sudden stops or slowing down would be reduced making traffic flow more predictable.
  • all modes of public transportation work on a schedule in synchrony with business and government office hours.
  • should be a service provided by a few business entities rather than thousands of public transport operators.

Thing is, I didn’t even think this one up. These ideas have been proposed for decades now and here we have president Noynoy Aquino saying that the solution to traffic gridlock still needs to be studied less than a year before his term expires.

You know what? If I had a dirty mind, I’d say that Pnoy purposely made sure that we wouldn’t have a public mass transport system so that his cronies would make a killing from car sales. But hey! That’s just a wild idea, right?

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Post Author: Paul Farol

Try not to take me too seriously.

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26 Comments on "Traffic Is Caused By High Car Sales Says Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras"

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marius
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>> I’d say that Pnoy purposely made sure that we wouldn’t have a public mass transport system so that his cronies would make a killing from car sales. But hey! That’s just a wild idea, right?

This thought occurred to me regarding the complete absence of electric vehicles on the streets. Simply compelling tricycles to fit electric drive rather than made-in-China gasoline engines would massively reduce pollution. But I’m guessing there are a lot of well-placed people making money from gas.

Of course, if they did that, someone would then have to think about providing a functioning electricity infrastructure.

Aeta
Guest
“Traffic Is Caused By High Car Sales Says Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.” I’ve always suspected that the Chinese-Filipino and Korean manufacturer and sales industries were behind the MMDA’s decision to outlaw locally-assembled vehicles–like the “jeepneys,” “Tamaraw” or U.S. military jeep replicas called “owners” from plying the main highways like NLEX, SLEX, and EDSA– for safety reasons. However, the truth is to compel the general population to buy brand-name automobiles if they want to travel on these major roadways. This article confirmed my suspicion that these Chinese-Filipino/Korean auto manufacturer and sales companies are in cahoots with MMDA to squeze more… Read more »
marius
Guest
Aeta: there’s nothing magical about locally-made. Those vehicles you mention are mobile garbage heaps, badly-made, badly-made, polluting, and unsafe, and extremely EXPENSIVE for what you get. I have no doubt some well-placed people are getting rich from car sales, but that’s beside the point here. Those awful home-made death traps are third-world junk, and they should not be in use. Why would you Filipinos wasting their money on trash, when, for the SAME PRICE, you can buy a world-class vehicle from another country? Vehicle engineering is difficult. There are literally millions of man-hours invested into a cheap Korean sedan. No… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
Marius, ” there’s nothing magical about locally-made.” I agree. However, the country’s main problem is reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. So why would you replace the “most evil” (locally-made vehicles) with a “lesser evil” (brand-name vehicles)–and use that an excuse–and still have the same problems with traffic congestion and air pollution? It seems to me, the government should have opted for controlling the productions and sales on privately-owned vehicles and more on public transportation (like MRT/LRTs and buses). But it (the government) didn’t, which tell me there is more behind the “modis operandi” of Phil/Gov and the automobile industries… Read more »
Vincent
Member
Marius, “b) the government encourages and subsidizes faulty agricultural practices” Let me add something similar from what I saw. In 2011, I was assigned to one Visayan province. One day while I was there I noticed that their agricultural school building is deteriorating and the school grounds is a bit messy. That night I had a chat with a former college official there and I told him what I saw. I asked him if the local govt is neglecting the school. He said somehow yes and explained to me why the school grounds is messy knowing that that is an… Read more »
marius
Guest
>> He said students there are taught to plant on the blackboard! There is no practice on the field because there is no budget for seedlings and planting tools. That’s absolutely outrageous, Vincent. I suspect it’s not that there’s no budget: it’s more likely, IMO, that the government wants to ensure the students learn nothing. Seeds are cheap (and why the hell is an ag. college not maintaining their own seed bank?). I have my farm tools custom-made (because they’re not even available in the marketplace) and they’re pretty cheap too. Materials cost for an ag. student should realistically be… Read more »
Vincent
Member
What’s more surprising for me is that students seemed to be not interested too. It looks like it’s fine with them. As you said, seeds are cheap and tools can be custom-made (which I believe it should be to demonstrate future agriculturists’ creativity). That is a province, a rural area. Forest lands are everywhere thus seeds shouldn’t really be a problem and yet, how ironic, their agricultural school is… ugh. Here’s one story: In one company I worked for we have this utility guy. He is so lowly. One day I heard he left our company and went to the… Read more »
marius
Guest
>> What I’m saying is, why can’t we give these aspiring agriculturists the same attention and care? IMO one good farmer is worth 20 lazy lawyers 🙂 But there are very few good farmers, for precisely the reasons you outlined. I won’t say NO good farmers – I’ve heard of several making good money – but they’re 99% self-taught. If you go to school in the Phils, you’re guaranteed to come out dumber than when you went in. I’m convinced this is the purpose of schools: to keep people stupid, and therefore poor. >> Forest lands are everywhere thus seeds… Read more »
marius
Guest
Vincent: incidentally, agriculture is one area where the Philippines’ ban on foreign teachers is really causing the country real pain. Many other countries in Asia – notably China and Korea – achieved what they did by inviting foreign universities and private companies to set up language schools, business schools, and technical colleges. These schools were (still are) immensely popular. There were a lot of sharks in the early days – people looking to make a quick buck – but they were quickly found out and disappeared. Most of the foreign education now on offer is very high quality .. and… Read more »
Vincent
Member
“The Philippines is missing out on a whole world of knowledge.” – One reason that I saw is there isn’t really any incentives in this area. In my mother’s barangay in the province, I am perplexed why a few farmers/head of the families, despite owning hectares of land, dreams that their children will someday own a condo unit in Metro Manila where they can all live in and leave their property. Thus they struggle to keep their children in school so that they can be OFWs in the future, not looking back on how they can develop and make their… Read more »
marius
Guest

Ah, I understand where you’re coming from now.

If the Philippines had a functioning government, I’d agree with you. My comment was based on the fundamental reality that the country is run by intellectually-challenged thieves, whose every decision is driven by the need to line their own pockets.

In that scenario, removing a bunch of dangerous, filthy vehicles from the road and replacing them with Korean imports is the least-bad scenario; the best we could possibly hope for. The chances of the government having the will or the skill to install proper infrastructure is essentially zero.

Aeta
Guest
Marius, “…the country is run by intellectually-challenged thieves, whose every decision is driven by the need to line their own pockets….The chances of the government having the will or the skill to install proper infrastructure is essentially zero.” I agree with you on your assumption, and those areas of the government officials’ real intention is what we need to hammer them on. This outward effort by the government in trying figure out out the best way to end traffic congestion, and reduce toxic emission in the air, is just a “dog and pony show” to pacify public outcry, and to… Read more »
marius
Guest
I’m not convinced foreign companies are interested in ‘fleecing’ the Philippines, for the simple reason that there’s nothing there worth fleecing. Can you think of anything in particular? There are so many other countries with rich pickings, the Philippines is waaaay down on the Conglomerates’ list of places to dominate. Anyway, there’s a big difference between exploitation and trade. In those cases where the Philippines does allow itself to be exploited – the food industry is an excellent example – it’s because they’re more than willing to bend over and take the shafting that’s being offered. Foreign companies sell garbage… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
Marius, Foreign companies doesn’t have to come in a shape and form that we’re used to seeing, like Apple, IBM, Exxon, or other major conglomerates–to name a few–who make their presence obvious when they set up shops in foreign countries. The foreign companies that I’m talking about (whether as individuals or cartels) can make their presence felt, by the money they infuse into the economy and influence they exert on specific businesses and politicians, respectively. Without naming a specific business or company, just look at the rate in which the Chinese-Filipino businesses have grown since the EDSA Revolution in 1986… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
Marius, “Going back to the subject of transport, where would the country obtain (say) LRT systems if they excluded foreign offerings? When you’re buying specialist kit, the best and cheapest option is to go to the specialists: and in this case, it would probably by Hyundai.” Where is it written in the Philippine Constitution that you have to allow foreign businesses to have complete access to our economy, instead of just assisting us set up and maintain our LRT system? All we need from these foreign companies–like Hyundai– is their materiel and technical expertise, and still keep their money and… Read more »
marius
Guest
Aeta: I don’t really understand what you mean. I’ve had enough contact with the government to know exactly why agriculture, manufacturing, etc are broken, and really, it has nothing at all to do with Chinoys, Koreans, or foreigners-at-large. – Agriculture is broken because: a) land administration/registration is a disaster, mired in the worst corruption and incompetence I’ve ever seen; b) the government encourages and subsidizes faulty agricultural practices; c) farmers are subject to extortion from government agents if they produce anything of value. The net result is that farmers can’t invest in their farms, don’t bother to educate themselves, and… Read more »
Aeta
Guest

Marius,

Do you really believe what the Philippine government

Aeta
Guest

Marcus,

And you really believed what the Philippines government has told you when the whole focus of this website is to expose its dirty little secrets? I’ve heard those same arguments you’ve just made from numerous government officials,too; yet all the evidence around me point out otherwise. By the way, just out of curiosity, what is your connection with the government? You don’t have to answer that question if you don’t want to. I’ll understand.

Aeta

marius
Guest
Aeta: you misunderstand. I’m not talking about what the government SAYS. This is my experience of what they DO. If you read the investment brochures, the Philippines welcomes foreign companies with open arms. That’s not how it actually works. The government does not want anybody starting businesses: not foreigners, not the locals. Nobody … except, of course, their favoured friends (including, I guess, favoured foreigners). I came to the Philippines originally intending to set up a farming corporation. I quickly found out this was impossible. I later found out it’s equally impossible for the locals. I have no connection with… Read more »
UK RAY
Guest

Yes Mr. Farol, you hit it right there. The fact is that the misery that is the NCR of Manila-Quezon City is something the people have learned to live with. A cure would make it worse in the short term, but much better in the long run.
Which would the avg. Filipino choose?

Vegemite
Guest

Poor mannered motorists with no courtesy or discipline is a large part of the problem. Can’t see that behavior changing soon.

Aeta
Guest

And you won’t, @Vegemite. Pinoy mentality is set up to think one way: me–not you or them–but me me me.

67Hayden007Toro999.999
Guest
67Hayden007Toro999.999
Our government is a Feudal Oligarchy. Everything that the Oligarch, like Aquino and his buddies; who are getting richer, and richer, than they ever were. They are Greedier than Marcos, or any other politician, who ever served in the Philippine government. It is now, the “Reign of the Greedy”… “Traffic is the because of the rise of car sales”…what a stupid statement from an idiot, like Almendras. If there is flood, there is traffic. If they don’t follow traffic laws, there is traffic. If every driver is for, himself/herself; there is traffic. If there are no improvements of the roads;… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

Then we have people agreeing with the proposal for banning cars with 3 or less people on the road – which is likely not going to have any effect. Also, it’s passing on the burden of Juan’s wrongdoing to Pedro.

Marius, you Vincent Marius on Facebook? What you posted made the exact sense. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road is not the solution, fixing the broken systems is.

But our Filipino government seems to believe broken systems are part of our Filipino identity.

Aeta
Guest

ChinoF,

“Marius, you Vincent Marius on Facebook? What you posted made the exact sense. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road is not the solution, fixing the broken systems is.”

I don’t get your statement at all. If the system is already broken–and no chance in hell it’s going to get fixed soon–why wouldn’t the addition of uncontrolled number of motor vehicles on the road excacerbate the symptoms of that broken system? Could you explain?

Aeta

d_forsaken
Guest

The reality about transportation is that it’s future-oriented. If we’re planning for what we have, we’re behind the curve.

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