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Cavite Number Coding Scheme: A ‘solution’ to traffic congestion

While Cavite is far from the turtle-like pace of EDSA in Metro Manila, the traffic dilemma of metropolis has made its way to the province. Beyond being merely a nuisance for transportation, traffic congestion can cause major losses in the economy as well as hours of lost time. As traffic along the major roads and highways in Cavite has become more and more evident, the provincial government of Cavite has made a bid to resolve the issue with Provincial Ordinance No. 164, which imposes a number coding scheme on  private vehicles travelling in the major roads in the province of Cavite.

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 “We (everyone) are all concerned in the traffic situation in the [Cavite]. It is we who find solution,” Provincial Board Member Hon. Gilbert Gandia, the author of the Cavite number coding scheme, said.

Implemented on February 5, the scheme was enforced by the Cavite provincial government on private vehicles travelling along identified roads such as Aguinaldo Highway, Governor’s Drive, Molino-Salawag-Paliparan Road, and Molino Boulevard. The scheme began to take full effect after the provincial government crafted traffic measures in September 2016 (more than one and a half years before the coding scheme’s implementation), and underwent observations, dry runs, and revisions.

As stated in the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) ordinance, private vehicles are now restricted on particular days based on their plate numbers’ ending digits. The number coding scheme, or Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, was adapted from Metro Manila’s coding scheme, and as such restricts private vehicles (such as cars, vans, and trucks) with ending digits 1 and 2 on Mondays, 3 and 4 on Tuesdays, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursdays, and 9 and 0 on Fridays. The scheme will be strictly observed from 7 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM on weekdays. However, the number coding scheme is exempt on weekends and holidays.

The Office of the Governor delegated the implementation of the number coding scheme to the Road Safety Division, where provincial enforcers are tasked to apprehend the coding ordinance violators. The transportation chair also said that numerous vehicle owners have already been apprehended since the coding’s implementation.

Furthermore, the provincial government implemented a coding window, a five-hour period from 10:01 AM to 2:59  PM that allows all vehicles, regardless of their plate number, to pass along major roads without being apprehended.

Solution for traffic

“In the event of chaos created in major thoroughfares in the province, number scheme is observed capable of road rationing to reduce volumes of vehicles, decongest traffic and restrict other types of vehicles during peak hours,” Gandia said.

In the previous weeks since the coding scheme’s implementation, Gandia notes that traffic congestion has been reduced.

“The governor (Remulla) is satisfied with what is happening now and during the flag ceremonies namin (officials), sinasabi nga niya, he’s giving an 85 percent grade for the implementation [of the ordinance] because na-improve talaga ‘yong movement ng traffic [in Cavite],” he said.

Meanwhile, car manufacturers offering low down payments for selling private vehicles were also mentioned by Gandia, stating that the ordinance was also crafted to further address the lack of restrictions on the number of cars on the road, which adds to the traffic congestion in the province.

“We do not still have the resources to build other (sic) roads [unlike Metro Manila], and there is no national law that restricts the [number of] cars and vehicles in the Philippines, unlike countries such as Singapore. Sa atin dito sa Cavite, parami ng parami (cars). Car manufacturers are offering very low down payments, so before it gets worse, we decided to craft this ordinance—and of course, it’s part of the governor’s agenda.”

Apart from restricting affected vehicles from driving along the said major roads and reduce the traffic congestion in Cavite during peak hours, the ordinance was also implemented as it was originally part of Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla’s plan for the province.

Although comments contesting the provincial government’s coding scheme were raised both online and offline, Gandia furthered that, “There was no easy way especially if the government is introducing new policy that may implicate great change in their travel including commuters and private vehicle owners.”

Gandia added, “Kahit medyo may resistance [from the public], alam mo naman tayong mga Pinoysiguro in the long run they would understand why we’re implementing this and everybody will be happy.”

 

Exemptions

Initially, the ordinance was supposed to be implemented on January 1 of this year, however, due to the preparations and refinements made for select public’s exemptions, the enforcement was moved to February 5.

“The coding scheme of Cavite has resemblance with the number coding in Manila. The only difference was the provision for exemption, PUVs (Public Utility Vehicles) are not covered and there have been only identified road considered choke points in Cavite. Also, an alternate route is provided for our motorists’ convenience,” Gandia added.

According to him,  PUVs are not covered by the provision as there are no alternate PUVs which will aid commuters in the absence of affected PUVs unlike Metro Manila commuters who have the option of taking the MRT or LRT.

Certain exemptions in the provision were also provided for vehicles delivering perishable goods, company shuttle service vehicles, vehicles used by people with disabilities, ambulances, doctors, public attorneys, prosecutors, judiciary members, tourism agents, business locators, and vehicles used for carpooling with at least three passengers inside the vehicle.

Meanwhile, according to an article from Rappler, PUVs, school buses, motorcycles, emergency and government vehicles, and vehicles with Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) registration stickers are exempted from the coding system.

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Calling for every citizen’s support and discipline, Gandia said, “For every solution introduced, it requires cooperation from the public … these public policies on traffic must be respected and followed by all, no exemptions provided.”

 

–With a report from Naomi Lane Tiburcio