Marcos orders broad solution to Manila’s traffic problem

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. wants a comprehensive approach to the capital region’s traffic crisis, one of his economic managers said on Thursday.

Officials on Wednesday discussed traffic issues during a Cabinet meeting, where Mr. Marcos ordered agencies to submit recommendations, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told a palace briefing.

“What the President really wants is a comprehensive, holistic approach to solving the traffic problem, not a piecemeal approach as has been the case all these years,” he said.

“In the planning of our transport system, we should be looking at the intermodal transport system and see how they operate efficiently as a whole… If there’s a chokepoint in one, it affects the whole system. That’s why we really look at it as a system — and that’s the direction of the President.”

The Management Association of the Philippines last month called for a state of calamity declaration in Metro Manila so the President can use his special powers to solve traffic congestion in Manila and nearby cities.

The group also urged the President to appoint a traffic czar.

Traffic congestion in Metro Manila is costing the Philippine economy at least P3.5 billion daily or P1.27 trillion annually, according to a Japan International Cooperation Agency study.

MAP Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Eduardo H. Yap said at a Mar. 21 House of Representatives hearing that events causing P1 billion in damage qualify as calamities. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza