Makati to Cubao via Edsa in 5 minutes? Travel at 180 kph
MANILA, Philippines — When President Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Saturday to make travel time from Makati to Cubao in southern Quezon City only 5 minutes, how will he carry out his plan?
“Surprise! He has something up his sleeve,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday.
It could be one hell of a ride, though. A vehicle can get to Edsa corner Aurora Boulevard from Edsa corner Ayala Avenue, a distance of 15 kilometers, in five minutes if it is traveling at 180 kph.
Panelo said it was possible that the President was planning something to make good on his promise over the weekend to ease traffic along the heavily congested Edsa.
“Otherwise, why would he say that it will only be a five-minute travel?” Panelo said.
Task force CubMa
An interagency task force has been created to turn the President’s promise into reality, according to an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Bong Nebrija, MMDA Edsa traffic czar, announced the formation of “Task Force CubMa” over dzMM radio station on Monday.
Under the group, the MMDA will be joined by the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and Interagency Council for Traffic in managing traffic flow and apprehending violators on the busiest highway in the metropolis.
The Department of Public Works and Highways will implement “engineering interventions” to give way to repair works along Edsa on weekends.
“You don’t have to worry about traffic. Cubao and Makati will be about five minutes na lang,” the President told Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on the latter’s television program on Saturday.
The vehicle speed needed to get to Cubao from Makati is way above the 100-kph limit along the Skyway and the 60-kph limit on major roads in Metro Manila.
At present, travel time to and from the two ends on average will take around 30 minutes and up to more than an hour during rush hours, further worsened by rains, accidents or mall sales.
“You just wait… Ayaw kong mag-ano, but things will improve… God willing. December smooth sailing na,” the President said.
Nebrija said the President’s pronouncement should be heeded. “Now we have a goal, whether it’s attainable or not.”
The MMDA official was moved by the “excitement, confidence and certainty” exuded by the President’s words that his plan will work out.
“We are already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Ban on provincial buses
For it to succeed, he said, the MMDA must implement existing traffic policies, including the heavily criticized plan to ban provincial buses and their terminals from Edsa, as well as to change the point-to-point route of UV Express commuter vans.
At least three petitions have been filed asking the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the ban on provincial buses, which was approved in March by the Metro Manila Council, the policymaking arm of the MMDA composed of the 17 mayors of the metro.
Nebrija said the policy was set to be implemented in June but could be stalled by legal setbacks.
“We are preparing as planned. When we get the guidelines and served it to the mayors, and there is no legal basis to stop us, then we will proceed,” he stressed.
He also asked the public to cooperate with the government in easing the traffic woes.
“Everybody should be on board, not just the government agencies but also the people. Discipline is a very important factor,” he said.
Solving the gridlock in Metro Manila, particularly on Edsa, is among the promises made by the President since he assumed office. He acknowledged it as his one and only unfulfilled promise in a speech in February.
His allies have prodded Congress to give him emergency powers to expedite infrastructure spending.
Panelo said it was up to Congress to decide on the President’s request to solve Metro Manila’s terrible traffic jams.
The President earlier rejected being given the powers after being told that this may lead to corruption.
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