Thursday, September 1, 2016


In the light of some comments made by people about the innovations made by Francis Yuseco on the the BRT (Bus Rapid TransIt) Yuseco himself explains the circumstances how Intel Track came into existence. Here he is:

There is no question or argument that Curitiba, Brazil Rede Integrade de Transporte (RIT) started in 1974 and proper credit should all go to it. At the same time, however, when the question arises that if I copied the Intelligent Trackways (Intel Track) system from the RIT and merely improved on it, I have to  truthfully answer also that I did not.
For one can improve only on something if he knew of the existence of that something.

The principal reason why I conceptualized the Intel Track was to liberate the Philippines from the onerous provisions of foreign loans structurally designed to make the country perpetually dependent on foreign loans and technologies.
After I conceptualized it, I completed a case method study which would allow the Philippines to develop its own mass transit system without having to resort to foreign borrowings and imported technologies.

Then DOTC Secretary Rainerio Reyes however, advised me to have my figures validated by the University of the Philippines Transport Training Center (UPTTC which is now The Center for National Transport Studies). The task was assigned to then UPTTC Deputy Director Esteban Cases. After several months, Deputy Director Steve Cases validated my study. He baptized my concept as the " bus train." Armed with the UPTTC study, I then went back to the DOTC to resubmit my bus train project. Unfortunately, DOTC Secretary Rainerio Reyes had already resigned. He was replaced by then DOTC Secretary Oscar M. Orbos.

After several months our bus train project was rejected for being " unproven, merely theoretical and with a  limited systems capacity." Thus, contrary to the DOTC's position, our bus train was in fact, already "proven, no longer theoretical and with outstanding systems capacity" - in Curitiba, Brazil. However, no one in the Philippines knew about the RIT in 1989. Thus, I and even Deputy Director Steve Cases had to humbly accept the DOTC's position that year.

However, even as our bus train was rejected, Gerhard Menckhoff , the World Bank expert on transportation sought me out to inquire about our bus train which I later named the Intelligent Trackways system. Mr. Menckhoff then wrote a very positive Internal Memorandum about it and distributed his memorandum to the other World Bank officials  assigned in different parts of the world. The memorandum is dated April 30, 1990. Again, Mr. Menckhoff never mentioned anything about Curitiba's RIT.

In any event, the Intel Track was conceptualized and designed as early as 1989 not only to mass transport people but agricultural, fisheries and other cargoes as well. Thus, it was conceptualized and designed not only for inner city but for outer city use as well. The difference is vast and as the Intel Track is more expansive. It was designed to also liberate our farmers and fisher folks from stranglehold of middle men called vioajeros.

When I am interviewed about this, I have to honestly say I never copied or improved on the RIT for the simple reason I didn't know of its existence. This is not to discredit the RIT or the writers who want to write about the chronological sequence of events that brought about the Intel Track. However, in order to avoid any misunderstanding or misconception that the Intel Track is not a genuine Filipino invention, as it is in fact, far more expansive than the RIT or Rapid Bus Transits (RBT) or Bus Rapid Transits (BRT) as they are more popularly referred to nowadays, I would be more than happy just to call the Intel Track an Innovation rather than an Invention in order to once and for all, dismiss all misunderstandings and misconceptions about it.

Business Mirror
September 1, 2016 issue

As we woefully endure long LRT-MRT queues and mechanical breakdowns, more woes loom in the horizon: Business-debilitating traffic that costs huge amount of money a day. Foreign debt payments that continue to imprison generations of Filipinos for our LRT and MRT dues. Its time to liberate the country from this madness. 

A Filipino rapid bus transit innovation copyrighted and patented 27 years ago, can help propel the Philippine economy to new heights.

Philippines Intel Trackways and Rapid Transit 

Intel Track or PRT (Philippine Track Rapid Transit) is an innovation by Filipino Francis Yuseco, exhaustively studied by the University of the Philippines Transport Training Center, now the National Center for Transport Studies.

It was corroborated by DOTC, DPWH and MMDA - all agreeing it has the same operating efficiency and capacity of railways.

This countrys very own indigenous mass transit system is way ahead of Bogota, Colombias model, which started only in year 2000, or 11 years after Yuseco acquired his Intellectual Property Rights in the Philippines

The all-Filipino PRT technology has the capacity to attain an average traveling speed of 80 kph.

Intel Track is a system without the rails and simulates the operating characteristics of railways at a fraction of railways costs and construction time. It does not require subsidies of railways on foreign debts eternally passed on from one generation to another.

The National Center for Transport Studies concluded that if Intel Track will be implemented in Metro Manila and other cities, it could reach a traffic decongestion factor as high as 96.8% per corridor.

Yuseco has also been supporting the full development of Philippine Railways system of the DOST.  It has already reached a healthy level and DOST has spent more than P120.0 Million for its research and development, he says. He stresses that the government should not simply write-off that amount because, as Filipinos, we owe it to our talented engineers and scientists of the DOST our full, unconditional and undivided support.

Yuseco knows what he is talking about. He was an investment banker who personally experienced the devastating effects of supposedly concessional loans provided by bilateral and multilateral Export Credit Facilities (ECFs).

I know for a fact that there is absolutely no way we can ever repay ECF loans used to finance major infrastructure projects (rail-based mass transits, tollways, power plants, etc). These ECF loans perpetually remain unpaid as what is happening with all our three Light Rail Transit loans, he says.

Yuseco believes that President Duterte should protect the hapless Filipino taxpayers from the toxic onslaught of Sovereign Guarantees (SG). 

These SGs were liberally granted by the past administration at the behest of oligarchs who want to corner the country's infrastructure projects. When they generate billions of revenues, they divide the profits by declaring dividends for themselves. When they run into financial trouble, they make the poorest of the poor Filipinos answerable for these 'financial troubles, he says.

According to Yuseco, one recent example is the 7.5 billion-peso payment made to LRT1 Extension project. This was paid by the Aquino administration despite the fact that not a single column of the LRT 1 extension has been built.

Full development of the Philippine rail system can be financed essentially in Philippine pesos, Yuseco says. We need to patronize our domestic financial markets as it is currently awash with liquidity in excess of P8.3 Trillion, he explains.

Our engineers estimate that for the price of one 11-kilometer LRT (estimated to cost P60.7 billion with a construction period of four years), we can connect the entire Metro Manila with eight elevated PRTs within a shorter construction period of two years.

One short-haul LRT line extending for only 11 kilometers requires P9.0 Billion in annual subsidies.  An entire 1,079 rail line would need considerably more than P9.0 Billion in annual subsidies.
No more foreign debts for generations of Filipinos

Yuseco is vehemently against the exorbitant amount of building a rail system with an interest rate of 200% to 300% per annum.

Ordinary Filipinos, specially the youth, should be made aware that these foreign loans are structured in such a way that they can never be paid. 

According to Yuseco, foreign denominated loans, peddled by their local agents and patrons deeply embedded in various government agencies, will always assert that we need not develop our own indigenous rail systems in as much as these imported rail systems are being generously offered to us.

When the Philippines first Belgian LRT deal was closed in 1981 by a basket of Belgian Francs and US dollars, the Philippine peso to US dollar exchange was P7.50: $1.00. Exchange rate for the LRT2 was P24-$1 in 1994. MRT 3 was financially closed at P26-$1 in 1996. The exchange rate now is 46.77 to 1 dollar. Our cost of borrowing for all three is approximately, 200% to 400% per annum, making them intrinsically impossible to pay.

Incredulous as it sounds, according to Yuseco, Filipino taxpayers have been cornered to this very date to pay private shareholders of Edsa MRT US$11 million a month to guarantee their shareholders a Return on Investment of 15% per annum. 

Over and above, Filipino taxpayers have been, and are still paying US$90,000.00 a month for their administrative costs. The $11 million does not even include the P56.0 billion that their shareholders are asking for the government to take over their rights to operate the Edsa MRT, Yuseco says.

The American Bus Association (ABA) President George Wynn sent PhilTrak (the company that owned Intel Tracks) a facsimile letter dated August 30, 1999 that the United States was also going "to reinvent its bus service using the same features of the Philippine innovation.. US Federal Transit Administrator (USFTA) Gordon Linton then tagged the American reinvented bus service with a catchy (but grammatically wrong name) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). 

Curiously, the American Bus Association or for that matter, the United States Federal Transit Authority never once referred to the Curitiba, Brazil Rede Integrade de Transporte.

With the United States taking the lead, there are now 136 cities in 39 major operating with amazing success. They include rich and powerful countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, China, South Korea, Indonesia, France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, among others. Their savings in subsidies amounting to billions of dollars are channeled to their more urgent needs.

Examples of long haul bus-based mass transit systems are in Botswana, and Cape Town South Africa which cover distances of 472 kilometers and 300 kilometers, respectively; Jakarta, Indonesia which covers 108 kilometers and Curitiba, Brazil with a distance of 81 kilometers.

High capacity bus-based mass transit systems include those in Guangzhou, China which transports 1,000,000 million passengers daily; Jakarta, Indonesia, 1,200,000; Tehran, Iran, 1,600,000; Bogota, Columbia,1,800,000 and Curitiba, Brazil, 2,300,000.

World-class, proudly Philippine-made

Yuseco believes Filipinos should rally behind the full development of the Philippine Railways being undertaken by the DOST. It would be treasonous to import foreign made railways while ignoring Filipino engineers, manufacturers, laborers, suppliers, among others, he says.

Unfortunately, the Filipino psyche has been tamed, abused and taken for granted over centuries of colonization that any idea or product, so long that it is Filipino, must not be good enough and hence, must be rejected, Yuseco laments.

But even if the Filipinos rejected its own, World Bank Transport Expert Gerhard Menckhoff sought Yuseco out to learn more about the Philippines Intel Trackways. On August 31, 1990, he wrote a memorandum urging global governments to seriously consider the Philippine innovation. The same was distributed to different officials of World Bank officers assigned in different parts of the world.

Bankrupt railways in the world

Beyond the seemingly modern infrastructure backdrop of some first world countries, fact is, they pay huge subsidies to pay debts to sustain and operate them.

Except for Hongkongs Metro, which generates income from real estate and advertising revenues, all are miserably bankrupt. The following are the annual subsidies that private citizens around the world are literally forced by their governments to subsidize year in year out for their countries' bankrupt railway operations:

COUNTRY.           SUBSIDIES.                                                                           Germany                    17.0 Billion                                                            France                       13.2 Billion                                 
Italy                          7.2 Billion                                   
Spain                        5.1 Billion                                   
United Kingdom          4.5 Billion                                   
Switzerland                4.3 Billion                                  
China                        US$130.0 Billion
Japan                        US $ 300.0 Billion 

Japans losses in 1980 forced its government to privatize their railways, which today, are still subsidized by their citizens.

Thus, even if the above listed countries are more economically powerful than the Philippines, their citizens are still literally forced to subsidize them without let up.  This is true even their currencies are at par with the currencies of the loans, which finance railways.

FiIipino capability at its best

The trackways plus the railways being developed now by the DOST can run at par with the US Amtrak of 50 mph or 80 kph, decent enough without sinking the Philippines into deeper financial debt, according to Yuseco. 

Yuseco doesnt believe the Philippines lacks funds and brains to develop a top calibre trackways system. Brazen corruption, red tape and politics have put our government to international shame according to him. The Aquino administration underspent on infrastructure. So this is a twin Filipino solution, he stresses.
The Intel Track plans is to cover the entire country with focus in addressing Metro Manilas traffic headache that has spawned productivity losses amounting to roughly P2.4 billion a day.
The Intel Track rolling stocks will run on its own exclusive track that is completely controlled, therefore, completely programmable. With a completely programmable environment, one has the absolute freedom to program all its systems operating activities.

Intel Track buses will have a length of 18 meters and width of 2.7 meters. When reconfigured, seating and standing arrangement will be the same as LRTs, with passenger capacity of 200 passengers per bus, simulating the operating characteristics of rail-based systems.

Other features: Fixed headways, dwell times, average speed, top speed, loading and unloading stations. Doors open sideways and floor levels are on level with loading and unloading platforms. At an average speed of 60kph, distance between each bus traveling on headways of 60 seconds is a generous distance of 1,000 meters or one (1) kilometer.
The result: They match operating efficiency and systems capacities of any rail-based systems at a fraction of their costs. Moreover, their coaches can be manufactured locally and they can be installed within a very short period of six to eight months. Right of way, a perennial problem, would be minimized since posts supporting the elevated road could be built on sidewalks, which is government property, Yuseco says. 

Intel Track is also proposing to build a road using the 30-meter right of way of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) across 1,079 km of train lines stretching across Luzon. Yuseco said this would help spur development in areas outside Manila.
Diametrically opposite the two LRT 1 and MRT 3 where the taxpayers are forced to subsidize private consortium operations to at least P9.0 billion per line per year, the proposed operations of Intel Track on LRT 2 will net the taxpayers a positive reverse subsidy in the amount of P12.1 billion annually. 

What will all these result to? Informal settlers living in crime, drug infested squalors of our cities will migrate back to their hometowns.

Furthermore, Yuseco says that if we ever wonder why the LRT is Belgian, the LRT 2 is Japanese, while the MRT 3 is Czechoslovakian, and now the coaches for the EDSA MRT will be made in China, we shouldnt wonder any more. The answers he says are in the offshore accounts of various government officials paid with generous commissions by the rail manufacturers and exporters.

He recommends that instead of having to import the exorbitantly and complex Light Rail Transit, which Filipinos can never pay, we should spearhead the creation of a bus consortiums to serve as the country's first indigenous mass transit project. He also wants the government to gradually phase out dysfunctional and unscientific operations of conventional buses and convert them into our own mass transit.

Highlights of Yusecos resume 

Graduated with a Liberal Arts Commerce degree from DLSU, took up Management Development Program at Asian Institute of Management and finished one (1) year of Law at the University of the Philippines:

Started his career as Systems Analyst of Manila Management Corporation (FMMC). Acquired first exposure of rampant corruption at the LTO when 10 or 15 year old buses already condemned in other countries after mere cosmetic or superficial reconditioning in the country were being allowed to be registered as only one or two years old.

Later joined Bancom Development Bank as money market trader, the Philippine American Investment Corporation as Head Trader and Assistant Treasurer, then Treasurer until he became one of the partners and Executive Director of the Philippine Investments Systems Organization (PISO), one of two conduit lending institutions in the Philippines for multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank International Monetary Fund, International Finance Corporation, Japan international Cooperation Agency and Overseas Development Assistance. 

As an investment banker, he became Director and Vice-President of the Money Market Association of the Philippines, Chairman of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) Capital Market Development Committee. He also has written published articles in international finance both here and abroad.

He is also a member of the Filipino Inventors Society, with three inventions in his name, namely: The Karbrella - a portable car umbrella, the Water Weeder, a garden device for extracting garden weeds and the Philippine Track Passenger, Agri and Cargo Rapid Transit (PRT) System for which he was awarded a Certificate for Inventive Excellence in Solving the Country's Horrendous Transport and Traffic Problems.