The Roundtable Discussion (RTD) on Transportation Infrastructure for National Development, Competitiveness, and Resiliency was conducted by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) through its Engineering Sciences and Technology Division (ESTD), chaired by Academician Reynaldo B. Vea on March 6 at the Traders Hotel, Manila. The said RTD is in preparation for the 36th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), which seeks to give advice in areas of infrastructure, information, and innovation, especially in the aspects of policy and governance.
National Scientist Mercedes B. Concepcion, NAST PHL Vice President emphasized in her welcome remarks the need for providing science-based solutions to problems and challenges affecting the transportation infrastructure in the country through the formulation of policy recommendations concerning best practices and impact assessment.
The invited experts were Engr. Felicisimo C. Pangilinan, Jr., deputy director for Planning of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Dr. Hussein S. Lidasan, professor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Dr. Jose Regin F. Regidor, director at the National Center for Transportation Studies, UP Diliman, and Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy, dean of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, Mapua Institute of Technology.
Engr. Pangilinan discussed transportation infrastructure initiatives of DOTC. He highlighted the developments initiated by his Department all over the country such as constructions of new airports and development of old airports and RORO system, enhancement of air navigation safety, improvement of urban railway and mass transport system. On the other hand, Dr. Lidasan presented logistics and transportation infrastructure development strategies. Dr. Regidor talked about transportation infrastructure framework and outlined a plan that would support inclusive growth and poverty reduction, foster economic development, and improve quality of life. Lastly, Dr. Uy emphasized the need for the country to create a strong organization for intelligent transport systems (ITS).
During the open forum, Dr. Lidasan mentioned that there are green programs related to infrastructure development initiatives such as green highways, bicycle lanes, utilization of e-jeepneys, and the creation of a smarter city by converting and/ or creating urban agriculture. Acd. Trono asked about the status of the country in terms of using the global positioning system (GPS) for the transport units. Dr. Uy shared that there is an existing mobile application for android phones and tablets, which would provide real-time traffic information to the public. The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) recommended the need for policy instruments for the government to identify institutions that will act on specific developmental concerns instead of creating a new body in the bureaucracy for the said reason. Other recommendations gathered were the need for the modernization of ports, improvement of the RORO system, and the increased capacity in airports in preparation for the ASEAN 2015 integration.
Academician Vea delivered the closing remarks and invited the participants to attend the pre-ASM conference on May 29 to draft the ASM recommendations. Academician Aura C. Matias, ESTD member, served as the moderator and master of ceremonies. The event was attended by 50 participants from the academe, different government institutions and private sectors.