Solution to Manila Traffic? “Uberize” the Philippines

REBLOCKING AT EDSA / DECEMBER 5, 2015 Heavy traffic along Santolan area as workers from Department of Public Works and Highways workers conduct concrete reblocking at Nepa Q-Mart along Edsa, Quezon City, December 5, 2015. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA
An Inquirer article writes that Duterte and Cayetano propose the same solution  To Manila’s seemingly hopeless traffic problem: Decentralization. But here’s a glimpse: I think it will take a long time. Maybe a decade or two?



Government offices, key offices and other centers of works should be relocated at the outskirts or in the provinces. Duterte stands for decentralization and federalism. If people say he is another “centralized dictator,” then decentralization of control of the government and economy should never be in his platform. Socialist, communist regimes tend to lean on the one-man control, top-down approach to the economy, but here I see a different agenda from Duterte’s interviews.

Cayetano told the Inquirer staff, “For the longest time, the drive for development [has been] mainly focused on the National Capital Region (NCR), leaving other regions to fend for themselves. This is not sustainable nor equitable.”

One of the platforms I hear from Duterte is the Federal Government. In my developing understanding, I believe that the gist Federalism is the decentralization of regions or states, resulting to a limited National Government and balancing of powers. It could also result to more progressive provinces.

Manila is not just suffering from car traffic, she is also suffering from Data traffic, Plane traffic, cargo and ship traffic. I applied to get an NBI clearance, I had a hit, and I have to wait 2 weeks before I get a result. When it came, I have to write a letter to another city, wait for some time. When the result came, my birthday is wrongly written. I came to the staff, and they said I have to suffer that misinformation because if I reapply, I have to wait for next year for the Manila office again, and have to pay again. -This is one scenario of too much centralization. The Manila guys could be too busy, too packed, too traffic-weary or too-overwhelmed. However, if these centralized data are in a Region only, then things could be faster.

Cayetano adds that Duterte stands for “the empowerment of regions outside NCR which have long been neglected by the national government.” True. The too much centralization of powers in Manila leads not just to traffic in EDSA, and the two expressways, but also to NAIA and Manila Bay ports. This results to delayed shipping, expensive shipping and high unemployment rate in the Capital.

As a World Bank economics said, the Philippine Economy is still suffering from a sickness called Oligarchy or Pseudo-Oligarchy, where only a few people hold the power and resist all kinds of possible intervention. This has made Manila very rich (congestion of economic opportunities) and at the same time poor (squatters) and dangerous (high crime rate). People who hold the big chunks of industries won’t give up the control, won’t allow competition. Once economic competition come in, prices could go lower, and quality go higher. As one of my Facebook friends posted, “Manila is not the Philippines, and Philippines is not Manila.” In fact, provinces are great places to live in. Bacolod and Iloilo for example, are great places to stay in with cool climate and city-nature combination. Also Cebu, Davao, Norther Luzon and many more.

In political realm, federalism is an idea established and defended by the Forefathers of America. They are sound Biblical Christian Protestants, mostly Calvinist Ministers, who were persecuted and eschewed by England’s religious majority in the 17th and 18th century. Their trouble was a blessing in disguise, not just for their soon-to-be-established nation, but for the whole world. Some Protestant ministers such as the line of Oliver Cromwell had influenced their government as salt and light and made Britain as a SuperPower even until today.

The belief that Manila or one central government will have a say to most of the things in the country is an ism called Keynesian Mercantilism. It’s basically based in heavy central planning and government regulating. Religiously speaking, Keynesianism or Socialism tend to lead a nation to look up to the government as their god, a demi-god, just as the Babylonian, Assyrian, Egypt of old and the Roman Empire were designed.

History speaks to us: without the US and the ideals of Protestant Britain, Philippines could have long been a slave by the Imperial Japan or Colonial Spain. Universal education was brought here by the Protestants. That’s why we are good in English today, not Japanese or Spanish. The Protestant educators and leaders were big factors in giving way to the progress of our society. As time progressed, the Biblical Ideals of the Protestant Britain and America were soon absorbed and transported to other nations. Some of these ideals were somewhat “owned” by secular humanism and adopted by other early-adopting nations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan… later on China in 1978, and India in 1991.

Uber is a Tech Company that turns private vehicles into Taxi-like services. Before, only Taxi Cabs can earn from transporting passengers, but Uber democratized it. One thing I am amazed with the Philippines now is the wisdom of our fellowmen not to totally transport Uber from the West, but to create its likeness called GrabTaxi. We Filipinos are picking and that’s a good sign we are on a way to progress and to the ranking as a $1 Trillion economy by 2029. I believe if Filipinos will sustain their love and belief on Biblical Economic Principles, this goal is achievable. This has outraged some nations and some Taxi companies throughout the world. Those monopolize Transportation were suddenly threatened because of the decentralization of economic opportunities.

A centralized oligarchic Philippines is a top-down approach resulting to a congested Capital. However, a decentralized Philippines will be a bottom-up approach, resulting to the spread of progress to other parts of our nation. The one-man play and giant government scenario was the setup of the Roman Empire and the upcoming Antichrist regime in revelation. However, as Imago Dei, the stewardship of the world has to be under the sovereignty of private individuals rather than an enigmatic central government.

The same with education and information. Before the internet came, it is impossible of too hard for people to acquire new information, research and scientific data. Only the very rich, the very powerful or the higher powers have access to it. But here comes internet and the Oligarchic Elites who aren’t prepared were outraged, but the rest of the masses benefited, if they used it for good.

The principle of decentralization is lived up by Uber and the Internet. Technological innovation is simply sweeping everything before it. Some people see it as negative, end-of-the-world doomsday sign, but some see opportunities together with it.  This is going to change the whole shape of civilization, only time will tell.

The social order is going to adjust. The political order is going to adjust. No one can stop progress. No one may notice how the spread of ideas is changing the landscape of the world today, no one may appreciate how the spread of information makes education and knowledge cheaper and easier, removing barriers to entry, leading to the spread of the gospel, and the good of mankind.