Car sales in the Philippines are posting new records and one can just imagine their direct impact on Metro Manila traffic.
Vehicle sales jumped 29 percent in October this year to a record 28,667 units from 22,278 units in the same month last year. The October sales also topped the record sales of 27,045 units in September.
The October figure brought total sales in the first 10 months of 2015 to 234,951 units or 22 percent higher than 192,005 units in the same period last year. Car manufacturers and assemblers, thus, are on track to achieve their sales target of 310,000 units in 2015.
Vehicle sales in the Philippines are expected to sustain the current surge amid a growing economy. But the vehicle explosion will compound the traffic problem, especially in the metropolis and suburban areas.
The correlation between the exponential growth of vehicle sales in the Philippines and traffic should not be lost on the country’s economic planners and managers. Automotive sales are just starting to rev up. They will surge and surpass records month after month as the economy grows and the middle class expands.
Economic planners and line agencies, especially the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Public Works and Highways, must see the urgency of building more roads in and around the metropolis to catch up with increasing vehicle sales.
For one, the bidding process should be sped up and the attendant right-of-way problems surrounding the construction of new railways, toll roads and skyways must be resolved more forcefully.
The government should also appoint a more competent transportation secretary to oversee the construction of railways and roads. No new road or railway infrastructure has been built under the Aquino administration despite the pressing need of commuters.
The gridlock in Metro Manila will continue and worsen until additional roads and alternative modes of transportation are built. Vehicle sales, in the meantime, will sustain their surge and clog the roads more.