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Cavite, Batangas key to easing traffic mess

02:06 AM August 26, 2016

Two facilities in Cavite and Batangas provinces are key to the solutions of the traffic crisis besetting Metro Manila as recommended by a Japanese agency, according to a commuters group.

The group, National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection Inc. (NCCSP), called on President Duterte to implement the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (Jica) proposal to transfer Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) and the Manila North Harbor outside the capital to ease road congestion in Metro Manila.

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NCCSP president Elvira Medina, however, maintained that while her group supports Jica’s proposals, the government should also set up a “seamless and integrated transportation” system to encourage more people to take public transport.

“There is no denying that our roads in Metro Manila, and even in neighboring provinces, are too congested now. These solutions being put forward by Jica should be adopted by the Duterte administration if it is serious in addressing the worsening traffic problem,” Medina said in a statement.

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In its 2014 study, Jica said that the country was losing to traffic at least P2.4 billion daily. This is expected to reach P6 billion daily in 2030 should the government fail to address the problem.

Among the solutions Jica gave were the transfer of the country’s main airport to Sangley Point in Cavite, a former US facility, and the northern Manila seaport to Batangas, where a port already operates.

Jica said that since domestic shipping mostly comes from the south, savings in ship operating cost can be expected if they would dock in Batangas rather than at North Harbor. It also preferred the redevelopment of Sangley Point as it said that this will be much cheaper than converting Clark as the country’s main airport.

Also included in Jica’s proposals is the feasibility of having a Mega Manila subway system.

On Monday, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) urged government to make Edsa  the “priority line” for the planned multiline subway system.

“MAP suggests Edsa as the priority line for fast-track planning and implementation starting from North Avenue to Makati to run under and complement the MRT 3. This can be part of an overall urban improvement plan to transform Edsa into a world-class efficient, less-vehicle centric, calmer and pleasant tree-lined pedestrian-friendly avenue,” MAP’s traffic, transportation and infrastructure committee governor in charge Eduardo Yap said in a statement.

Sen. Franklin Drilon had filed a bill seeking to grant emergency powers for President Duterte to solve the traffic crisis not only in Metro Manila but also in urban areas outside the metropolis.

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Drilon’s proposed Transportation Crisis Act of 2016, authorizes Duterte to adopt alternative methods of procurement for the construction, repair, rehabilitation, improvement or maintenance of transportation projects.

The measure also assures that no court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government or any of its officials or any person or entity acting under the government direction to restrain, prohibit, or compel in the acquisition, clearance, and development of the right of way; and bidding or awarding of any transportation project identified by the President.

“The emergency power is already a ‘necessity’ given the magnitude of the transportation crisis that not only impedes the mobility of people, goods and services, but also threatens the livability of our cities,” Drilon said in the bill.

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TAGS: Batangas, Cavite, Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, National center for Commuter Safety and Protection, traffic
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