With the construction of the 14.8-kilometer Skyway 3 project -- which started on February 17 -- underway, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) proposed that both primary and secondary schools adopt a four-day week in order to ease the inevitable congestion of traffic.
A website, www.mmroadway.com, has been launched in order to guide the public on the traffic situation of affected thoroughfares, as well as on the progress of 15 other road construction projects that are set to happen simultaneously within the year.
Both the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) have expressed support for the 4-day proposal, but urge that the recommendation be studied thoroughly first. Malacañang, on the other hand, said it will be consulting with the agencies involved.
In response to the proposal, the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA) suggested a different coping strategy: implementing a carpooling system.
In an interview with philstar.com, FAPSA president Eleazardo Kasilag discussed the benefits of adopting a carpooling scheme: “Carpooling enjoys four-fold advantages: (1) you save on gas since you take turns in using the car, (2) you help those who do not have the money, (3) you are not susceptible to robbers for they have to deal with six people and (4) you cooperate with the MMDA guideline.”
FAPSA is not in favor of the 4-day school week because of the possible adverse effects on the value and quality of education. “Kung ikaw parent at magbabayad ng mahal, hindi ka ba mababahala na mababawasan ang araw ng eskwela? 144 class days out of 365 days in a year na lang ang matitira, hindi man lang nangalahati,” explained Kasilag in an interview with gmanetwork.com.
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Kasilag also suggested that the government use buses for the same objectives, and even collect fees for it. As for the working class, a bill complementary to the MMDA proposal has been re-filed by Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo to implement a compressed schedule — a 10-hour-a-day, 4-day work week.
Some of the supposed benefits of the 10-hour, 4-day work week include the potential increase in productivity, as workers have an extra day to recharge and do recreational activities.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), on the other hand, suggests adapting a flexible work schedule for as long as it is adopted voluntarily by employees, it does not affect their wages, and if the Decent Work Framework of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is consulted and conferred with.
In an article on interaksyon.com, the ILO recommends the following criteria in order to discuss the proposed flexible schedule option:
1. Will it help employment levels?
2. Will it expand access to employment opportunities?
3. Will it improve the quality of employment?
4. Will it help promote mutual and/or collective gains?
The TUCP also noted that a 4-day work week would not be beneficial to certain industries.
What are your suggestions for easing the traffic in Metro Manila? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
• February 18, 2014. Helen Flores. “Carpooling better than 4-day school week – FAPSA” philstar.com
• February 18, 2014. “4-DAY WORK WEEK? | Scheme to cope with traffic jams okay, but must be voluntary – TUCP” interaksyon.com
• February 18, 2014. Kimberly Jane Tan and Amanda Fernandez. “Palace, group suggest carpooling to ease Metro Manila traffic” gmanetwork.com