Caught (up) in traffic

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Transitions in government and in transportation in the Philippines

June 2010


“It’s the end of an era.” Perhaps that is one of the most quotable expressions every time change occurs, most especially when that change pertains to prevailing states or conditions and that includes governments. I have had the pleasure of working with many people under the current administration. And I can say that we in the academe have been fortunate that current officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) have been very receptive to collaborations. Such cooperative work is not at all new but something more like very good friends touching base once again and finding out that there’s so much more they could do together.

The reunion actually started sometime in 2003-2004 when the then DOTC Director of Planning Service and a bunch of faculty members affiliated with UP’s National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) got together in a meeting and over small talk extended each other’s ideas on how to improve transport in this country. More meetings, small talks and a few beers later saw the formalization of this collaboration when DOTC and NCTS held a Visioning seminar in 2006 to begin the charting of a road map for Philippine transport. There were no politics nor personal interests (other than the interest in improving transport) involved in this re-forging of old alliances.

Zoom to the present and I can only say now that the journey has been very productive; and if there is one thing I regret its that it is only now that we are reaping the fruits of our hard work put in the last 6 years. We can only hope that credit goes to those to worked so hard and dedicated their time, effort and resources to make things work. There were just too many challenges, obstacles to hurdle that today, one can look back and probably breathe a sigh of relief that we were able to accomplish much. Hopefully, the next administration will look at these achievements and see the good it has brought to the people. Hopefully, the next administration decides for continuity, even perhaps retaining people who worked so hard and honestly, who kept in their minds that the only things that are recalled as legacies are actually good things. And we can only hope that whoever we will be working with from July 1 would recognize the value of collaborative work between government and what was often referred to as an ivory tower.

Our warmest thanks to Acting Secretary and concurrent Undersecretary for Road Transport Anneli Lontoc – a true visionary and champion of Environmentally Sustainable Transport in the Philippines, Assistant Secretary Alberto Suansing – champion/advocate of road safety and reform both in his stints at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Undersecretary Thompson Lantion – who in his capacity as LTFRB Chair engaged UP in providing training for public transport drivers, and of course, Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza – who despite all the negatives pertaining to persistent criticisms from various parties in UP , committed the Department to collaborate with the University in worthwhile and unprecedented endeavors. One name is not mentioned here and that is the hardest working person of all – you know who you are and you know how much we appreciate your commitment and look forward to continuing our work together in the next administration and era.

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