Press Release
April 30, 2016


THE PUBLIC should be given the chance to help the government consider solutions to traffic woes in Metro Manila and other congested cities. Thus said reelectionist Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, who noted that transportation officials should be open to "crowdsourcing" suggestions on how to improve vehicular and pedestrian traffic regulations in metropolitan areas.

"People who spend hours in their cars or commute daily are in a good position to share their observations and offer suggestions. They should be given the chance to be heard, and there should be a suitable and appropriate platform for their suggestions to be conveyed to government officials," said Guingona, who is up for reelection to a second term in the Senate.

In the 16th Congress, Guingona authored the proposed Crowdsourcing Act of 2013, which would have allowed netizens, social media users, and all those with internet access to participate before, during, and after the lawmaking process. This way, lawmakers can be guided by their very own constituents on how to improve proposed legislation.

The bill, Guingona had said, would have paved the way for "effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making." He noted, "Crowdsourcing is an expression of the belief that despite our geographical separation, people can still participate in national affairs through the borderless world of the internet."

Guingona said transportation officials should consider a "social experiment" that harnesses the power of the internet in finding solutions to urban traffic woes. He said the national government has nothing to lose by listening more attentively to the very people who endure traffic daily either as motorists, passengers, or commuters.

"Actively solicit suggestions from the public using the internet. In the same manner, every proposed regulation should be posted online first, so that people may comment on them and offer their thoughts. Let us use emails and blogs and online chat rooms and other available avenues to consult stakeholders regarding traffic issues," Guingona said.

Under Guingona's proposed Crowdsourcing Act, people will be allowed to comment on pending bills, which will all be made available online. At the same time, lawmakers may be accessed online during periods of interpellations and debates.

Guingona was the only one out of 24 senators who voted against the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. He also questioned before the Supreme Court on the legality of some provisions of the said law.

In his petition, Guingona said, "Our people, especially those in social media, should not be forbidden from expressing their thoughts and opinions in cyberspace, whether critical or not, for fear of being labeled as cyber criminals."

In suggesting the crowdsourcing of traffic solutions, Guingona noted a number of good suggestions from the public on how to deal with problem, including the construction of more bridges crossing the Pasig River to decongest EDSA and C-5 traffic; the use of more double-decker buses on EDSA; the use of elevated platforms at bus stops and removing steps from buses so that people can get on and off only at designated stops; and making transport officials more accountable for "colorum" violations.

"There are many other quick solutions that can be considered, but people should be given the platform to air their constructive criticisms and to propose solutions. Crowdsourcing should be encouraged and promoted," Guingona added.

Another solution for consideration, he said, is further devolution of some transport regulatory functions to local governments, including enforcement of rules on franchising and out-of-line violations, or even registration violations. Allowing local government to put up their respective "flying squads" can help extend the reach of the law, Guingona said.

This will also allow local government to have additional sources of legitimate revenues, from the imposition and collection of fines and the payment of penalties, Guingona added.

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