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Foreign chambers urge Congress to speed up passage of traffic bill

Foreign chambers urge Congress to speed up passage of traffic bill

MANILA, Philippines — Further feeling the impact of the worsening traffic gridlock this holiday season, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) in the Philippines urged Congress yesterday to speed up the passage of the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act.

“We are continually reminded of the very difficult traffic situation by the worsening congestion we experience daily during this Christmas month of December,” the JFC said in a statement.

In airing its concerns, the JFC cited a recent study commissioned by ride hailing app Uber showing that Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila have the worst traffic in Asia.

It likewise highlighted the results of the “Unlocking Cities” study by the Boston Consulting Group which warned that “at current vehicle growth levels, Tier III cities (Manila) are at risk of reaching standstill levels of congestion (<10 km/hour) during peak hours by 2022.”

“Thus, we urge Congress to complete its legislative procedures and approve the legislation on second and third reading at the earliest possible date, and recommend the President certify the measure as urgent to also speed up its passage,” the JFC said.

The Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act seeks, among others, to reduce obstacles to the implementation of transportation projects, such as barring lower courts from issuing temporary restraining orders, for the duration of the emergency powers.

The JFC said responsible committees in both chambers of Congress completed their reports some months ago and their bills are in line to be discussed and approved in plenary.

“With the completion of the budget and the first tax reform package, the time to pass this important legislation is now,” the group said.

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean chambers and PAMURI.

The coalition represents over 3,000 member companies engaged in over $100 billion worth of trade in goods and services and some $30 billion worth of investments in the country.

The JFC supports and promotes open international trade, increased foreign investments, and improved conditions for business to benefit both the Philippines and the countries the JFC members represent.


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