ALARMED by the growing public discontent over the traffic gridlock caused by the construction of two major road projects in Metro Manila, President Benigno Aquino 3rd summoned members of his Cabinet on Friday to come up with effective ways to ease vehicle flow in the affected areas.
According to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Aquino directed the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to “fine-tune” measures that would ease the flow of traffic.
“In a meeting this morning, the president directed the secretaries of DPWH, DOTC and DILG, and the chairman of MMDA to fine-tune mitigation and remedial measures designed to minimize the citizens’ inconvenience, in coordination with DepEd [Department of Education], CHED [Commission on Higher Education], DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment] and DTI [Department of Trade and Industry],” the Palace official told a press briefing.
During the meeting, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino reported that traffic volume along South Super Highway has been reduced by more than seven percent from 131,000 to 122,000 vehicles daily since the start of construction Monday evening. This shows that affected motorists have begun using alternate routes adjacent to the construction area, Tolentino said.
“According to a JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency] study cited by Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, the Philippines is losing more than P2 billion daily in potential income and foregone productivity due to severe traffic congestion in the metropolis,” Coloma said.
“This is why the government has prioritized two major infrastructure projects, namely the Skyway Stage III project and the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road. When completed, travel time from NLEX to SLEX will be reduced drastically from an average of two hours to less than 30 minutes,” he pointed out.
Coloma said the benefits from the completion of these road networks will far exceed the inconveniences the people are facing now.
“These projects will bring about an improved quality of life due to ease of travel across Metro Manila that will benefit the citizens, communities, businesses and industries in the Calabarzon (Region IV-A), National Capital Region and Central Luzon, an area that presently contributes about 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product,” he emphasized.