BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA: Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa granted Congressman Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes, Chairperson of the Transportation Committee of the House of Representatives, and his Vice-Chairperson, the Honorable Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento of the 1st District of Samar an audience on 23 October 2018 during their study visit of the TransMilenio, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.
Mayor Peñalosa, the architect of the city’s TransMilenio BRT System happily received the two Congressmen as well as Ambassador Marichu Mauro who accompanied the delegation in Colombia.
Facilitated and organized by the Philippine Embassy in Brazil, the visit occurred over two full days on 23-24 October 2018.
Mayor Peñalosa, who is no stranger to the Philippines, having visited the country many times over, considers the BRT System as the only transport system that is applicable to Manila. He was very frank and straightforward in his assessment that installing a BRT System in Manila is long-overdue.
He then proceeded to outline how Bogotá’s BRT System works emphasizing that a strong political will is needed to execute such a project as it would involve reclaiming land to give priority to mass transport. National government support especially financially is also necessary in order to mount such a project.
“I believe that the Philippines cannot function without Manila and Manila cannot function without an efficient transport system,” the Mayor said. He was very emphatic about how citizens lose many precious hours of potential productivity while stuck in traffic such as the ones being experienced by Manila today.
Both Congressmen and Ambassador Mauro were very grateful for the frank and open discussion that occurred. The meeting with Mayor Peñalosa gave many valuable insights into how the Philippines can apply the experience of Bogotá in installing a BRT System in Manila.
As a final note, Mayor Peñalosa considers the installation of the BRT System in Manila as a matter of national priority and encouraged Congressman Cesar Sarmiento as Chairperson of the Transportation Committee of the House of Representatives to help President Rodrigo Roa Duterte realize how critical the transport situation is in Manila right now.