(Photo courtesy of Xinhua)

MANILA – Urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. supported a proposal of Senator Robin Padilla to use cable cars in urban centers to help alleviate traffic congestion.

“An aerial cable car system will not only help alleviate the traffic situation in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines - it will also boost security and benefit the environment,” Palafox said in a news release issued by Padilla’s office on Thursday.

Palafox said establishing such a system, which he noted is becoming a "global trend," would be tantamount to "future-proofing" of the country’s big cities from the perennial problem of traffic.

"The cable car is environment-friendly, and will future-proof our cities," Palafox said in a radio interview.

He noted there has been a proposal to use cable cars in Metro Manila, while tourism plans have been drawn up to use cable cars to link tourist spots such as Boracay and Caticlan; Davao City and Samal; and Ilocos and Cordillera.

Palafox added that cable cars have the added benefit of lowering criminality as shown in areas where they are used - such as Medellin in Colombia.

He noted that in Medellin, residents near the facilities got livelihood opportunities.

On the other hand, he said very few criminals would do their thing in facilities where there are many people.

Another benefit of the cable car system is that the view from the air can lead to faster response to disasters such as fires, or violations of the law such as illegal logging.

But most importantly, Palafox said, is that employees will save time that would otherwise be spent commuting - citing studies that show employees in Metro Manila spend six to eight hours a day just to commute.

He added the towers for the cable car system can become landmarks if they are built along Edsa - and if the project is approved, it can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Last week, Padilla suggested the use of an aerial cable car system to address the problem of traffic in Metro Manila, saying it had undergone a study and was approved by the past administration.

In 2016, former Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade proposed the use of cable cars to solve the traffic problem.

The DOTr’s proposal involved a 4.5-km cable car system that will link Marikina and Pasig Cities, with stops in Quezon and Pasig Cities. (PNA)