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