Pri­vate sec­tor, govern­ment unite in solv­ing Pam­panga's traf­fic woes

Sun.Star Pampanga - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIKA MARIEL B. GINES Sun.Star Staff Writer

CITY

OF SAN FER­NANDO---In its bid to spur sus­tain­able growth and de­vel­op­ment in the province, the Pam­panga Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, Inc. (PamCham), has called upon multi-sec­toral stake­hold­ers and the govern­ment to unite in mit­i­gat­ing ve­hi­cle con­ges­tion in the province.

Dur­ing a meet­ing on Thurs­day, PamCham Chair­man Emer­i­tus Levy P. Laus said there is an ur­gent need to ad­dress com­mon-wide traf­fic be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in Pam­panga, par­tic­u­larly in the cap­i­tal City of San Fer­nando.

He stressed that mean­ing­ful and sup­ple­men­tal so­lu­tions should be placed col­lab­o­ra­tively with the cor­po­rate-led groups and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, in or­der to at­tain long-term ef­fect.

The di­a­logue has since evolved to an in­for­ma­tive dis­cus­sion that raises traf­fic-re­lated mea­sures sug­gested by the stake­hold­ers and the govern­ment sect or.

Ini­tially, it tack­led so­lu­tions for the high vol­ume of ve­hi­cle com­ing in and out of the two malls lo­cated be­tween Mex­ico and San Fer­nando.

Mall op­er­a­tor Robin­sons Land Cor­po­ra­tion main­tained that the com­pany has al­ready im­ple­mented sev­eral

schemes to as­sure that the flow of shop­pers will not clog the main road, and that it will add more 1,000 slots to its ex­ist­ing 3,000 park­ing slots.

SM Prime Holdings Inc., on the other hand, noted that it re­sorts to lengthen the cu­ing of its tick­et­ing boot h.

For his part, Mex­ico Mayor Teddy Tu­mang pro­posed: "In the near fu­ture, I hope that we con­sider con­struct­ing a fly­over in front of the SM Mall to ac­com­mo­date more cus­tomers and help de-clog the main thor­ough­fare.”

Also dis­cussed dur­ing the meet­ing were the up­dates from the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­way’s (DPWH) on­go­ing projects.

De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways Re­gional Di­rec­tor An­to­nio Molano, Jr. as­sured that the agen­cy­will do its part to has­ten the com­ple­tion of the road­works.

“Our tar­get for the Jose Abad San­tos Av­enue (JASA) widen­ing was orig­i­nally this Fe­bru­ary, but due to some vari­a­tions like the el­e­va­tion and lev­el­ing of the road, we even­tu­ally had to move the tar­get date to March 25. By that time, the whole JASA widen­ing project will be com­pleted."

“More­over, the Bal­imb­ing Bridge widen­ing project will be com­pleted by the end of April, be­fore the Holy Week starts. Sup­pos­edly, we are tar­get­ing its com­ple­tion this Fe­bru­ary, but we had to de­lay it be­cause of sev­eral of NGCP’s high ten­sion lines and posts in­ter­fer­ing our con­struc­tion, so we had to wait for NGCP to work on it,” he expl ai ned.

Laus then sought the co­op­er­a­tion of the Na­tional Grip Cor­po­ra­tion of the Philip­pines (NGCP) to act im­me­di­ately. He ex­pressed con­cern that the pri­vate sec­tor will need to push and ini­ti­ate time again the need for the pri­vate-owned firm’s co­or­di­na­tion re­gard­ing the pend­ing project.

“As stake­hold­ers, we are ex­er­cis­ing our rights to tell them what they need to do. They can­not de­lay this and they must not de­lay this,” he said.

Fur­ther­more, Third District Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Aurelio Gon­za­les, Jr. said the govern­ment has al­ready lined up sev­eral project pro­pos­als that would im­prove and en­hance the ef­fi­ciency of the province’s trans­port in­fras­truc­ture.

“I have to up­date the pub­lic that we have sev­eral pro­posed projects to­gether with our may­ors Teddy Tu­mang and Ed­win San­ti­ago. Th­ese projects aim to help ease the grid­lock traf­fic here. We have a pro­posed road from Bev­erly Place go­ing to Balas, go­ing to Sta. Ana and Arayat. Also, we have a pro­posed by-pass road project: The San Ni­co­las-Santa Maria-Sto. Domingo Mex­ico by-pass road that we’ll start con­struct­ing hope­fully next month. Masamat road bride in San Fer­nando will also be widened.

We have a sup­ple­men­tal P150-bil­lion fund. That's why we need to work to­gether in or­der to spend th­ese money prim­ing the province’s econ­omy and de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

Mean­while, San Fer­nando Mayor Ed­win San­ti­ago noted that while the traf­fic is an in­dica­tive sign of progress, the city govern­ment is stead­fast to solve the is­sue in or­der to pave way for more investments and bet­ter ac­com­mo­date mo­torists and com­muters.

“If our province as­pires to be­come a mega­lopo­lis, we are now think­ing of a Metro San Fer­nando. Be­ing a Metro San Fer­nando means we have to widen our role in eco­nomic and in­clu­sive growth and of course, sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

“Col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts be­tween the govern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor are needed. We are lucky that our lo­cal cham­ber is ac­tive in help­ing us re­solve is­sues like this. I be­lieve that through en­gi­neer­ing and proper plan­ning, as well as reg­u­la­tion and en­force­ment, we can solve the traf­fic prob­lem in our province,” he added.

Laus con­cluded that the cham­ber be­lieves that the said pro­pos­als are def­i­nitely a good jump point to ad­dress traf­fic con­ges­tion and that the pri­vate sec­tor re­mains proac­tive and aligned with the overall vision of Pam­panga Gov­er­nor Lilia Pineda and Sec­ond District Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo to mold Pam­panga as a fast emerg­ing mega­lopo­lis.

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