Lawmaker urges flexible working time in private sector

By Wilnard Bacelonia

March 25, 2024, 5:19 pm

<p>Bumper-to-bumper traffic along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) approaching Santolan in Quezon City on March 18, 2024.<em> (PNA photo by Ben Briones)Briones)</em></p>

Bumper-to-bumper traffic along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) approaching Santolan in Quezon City on March 18, 2024. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)Briones)

MANILA – Senate Majority Joel Villanueva on Monday called for the adoption of flexible working time in the private sector to solve the worsening traffic situation in the country, and lessen the heavy economic losses brought by road congestions.

"Companies and employees should be allowed to arrange for flexible work arrangements instead of having employees report physically in the office every day and losing working hours due to traffic," Villanueva said in a statement.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has earlier encouraged government agencies in Metro Manila to adopt the Policies on Flexible Working Arrangements (FWAs) in the Government in support of current initiatives to improve the traffic situation.

A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that economic losses in the Philippines could increase to PHP6 billion per day in 2030 due to heavy traffic, aside from personal, social and environmental impacts.

Villanueva pushed for the passage of Republic Act No. 11165 or the “Work-from-Home Law” during the 17th Congress seeking to address the country’s traffic situation.

He also filed Senate Resolution No. 859 last year urging concerned agencies like the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), to review and revisit their plans on easing heavy traffic in the country.

"It is also important for the government to study the proposal on the gradual conversion of public buses into electric vehicles and how this will help make the lives of Filipino commuters more convenient and lessen the environmental impact of traffic congestion in the country," Villanueva said.

The Management Association of the Philippines, during a recent public hearing at the House of Representatives, has called on government to declare a "state of traffic calamity" in Metro Manila, as well as the conversion of public buses along EDSA busway to electric vehicles.

Proposed House Bill No. 4363, which was discussed in the said hearing, also seeks to provide emergency powers to the President to address the traffic problem. (PNA)