The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it has wrapped up its study on the proposed “Dream Plan for Metro Manila,” the first part of which involves a P520-billion short-term program of decongesting traffic between now and 2016.
The short-term program contains proposals to fill missing links in major thoroughfares, the expansion of expressways serving as entrances to Metro Manila, and the development of rail and road-based mass transport systems, among others.
“Did you see the Dream Plan? We have just completed the study,” JICA project manager Shizuo Iwata told reporters at the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank Transport Forum held from September 15 to 19.
Iwata underlined that the short-term program prioritizes the decongestion of Metro Manila by improving existing infrastructures and other assets.
“First priority is the missing link, improvement of an entrance. [The] first important thing to [do is maximize]existing asset and facilities, through human factors or some management capacities. That’s all. Of course, that’s the first thing, but it cannot solve all the problems, because Manila is growing very rapidly,” he noted.
JICA estimated that the short-term program, to be implemented from 2014 to 2016, would cost around P520 billion.
Iwata, as such, suggested that the government align investments necessary to carry out the proposals and expedite decision-making in order to avoid delays.
“[There is] enough money to fund [the projects], the government has money, especially the private sector. They have the capacity, capability, but because of the very unclear decision-making process many projects [have]been delayed… so that’s the problem,” Iwata said.
He added that the government is ultimately responsible for implementing the proposals contained in the Dream Plan.
Among the road projects lined up under the short-term program is the filling of the missing links in C5, the construction of the Global City-Ortigas Link Road, the construction of the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa)-Taft Flyover, and the rehabilitation of Edsa.
The program also enumerated expressway projects such as the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Toll Road, the North Luzon Expressway-SLEX connectors, Phase 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway, and the Calamba-Los Baños Expressway, among others.
Moreover, included in the development projects for rail and road-based mass transport systems is the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension, LRT-2 East Extension, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Capacity Expansion, Mega Manila North-South Commuter Railway, Public Road Passenger Transport Reform Study, and the proposed Bus Rapid Transport System 1, among others.
The short-term program, on top of the cited projects, also includes proposals for improving traffic management systems and the development of airports and ports as part of the overall strategy to decongest Metro Manila traffic.
Iwata, meanwhile, revealed that the government already commissioned the Japanese government to undertake the development of the North-South Commuter Rails.
“It’s already in the pipeline. It’s now at the stage [for approval]by NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Board, that [is in]the final stage,” the JICA official said.
JICA also submitted proposals to institutions that would facilitate the implementation of the Dream Plan. These proposals include clearing backlogs of unimplemented projects, ramping up the delivery capacity of transport agencies, harnessing the resources of local government units for many secondary roads, and outsourcing project studies to support current institutional weakness, among others.
Recently, JICA presented its Mega Manila Infrastructure Roadmap.
The roadmap includes the Dream Plan to develop a modern, well coordinated, integrated, and affordable transport system for Metro Manila by 2030.
The Dream Plan aims to help improve mobility, and the quality of life of people in Metro Manila, and its surrounding areas.
Iwata urged the government to immediately jump-start the implementation of the Dream Plan. He added that he could not think of a reason why the government would not be able to execute it.
“Money is there, either from private sectors [or]ODA (official development assistance). [The] Japanese government has already [undertaken]a presidential talk and [agreed to the implementation of the plan],” he said.
“We came [up with]a good plan, it was there but nothing moves, so that’s the question,” Iwata said.