METRO Manila Development Authority chairman Emerson Carlos, who resigned on June 30 when the new administration took over, has vacated his post last Friday to pave the way for the new chairman appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I already turned over the post last [Aug 19]. I vacated [it] because there is already a new chairman: Thomas Orbos, appointed by President Duterte last week,” Carlos told Manila Standard in a phone interview.
According to an MMDA information staff, Orbos was a former planning officer at the agency.
Replying to a question, Carlos said he would think it over first whether to accept any new post. “For now, magpapahinga muna ako [I would have to take some rest first].”
But on July 11, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea sent a letter to Carlos, indicating that the present administration was extending his service.
Then President Benigno Aquino III designated Carlos as the MMDA chairman last year following the resignation of Francis Tolentino who decided to run for the Senate in the May 9 elections.
The MMDA, the government agency tasked to manage the traffic situation in Metro Manila, is having a hard time tackling the worsening traffic problem which, it says, is caused primarily by the increasing number of vehicles and lack of discipline among motorists and pedestrians.
Carlos said earlier that Duterte should be given extraordinary powers to solve the traffic problem besetting Metro Manila and other urban areas and stop the multi-billion peso bleeding of the economy caused by these gridlocks.
With the extraordinary powers, the government would be able to create more infrastructure projects and accelerate their implementation and completion, he said.
Carlos said emergency powers can also be used by the president to rationalize traffic laws, rules and regulations being implemented by the national and local governments.
The agency is hoping the government will pursue with the planned construction of a subway system to ease traffic in the metropolis and nearby provinces.
The subway from Southern Tagalog to Bulacan is one of the best solutions to improve the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila.
The project forms part of the more than P2-trillion transportation plan presented to the Philippine government by Japan International Cooperation Agency in its “Road Map for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas.”The MMDA admitted that Metro Manila still needs inter-city expressway of 426 kilometers until 2030.
It added the metropolis, where 12 million people live, also needs urban and suburban railways of six main lines with 246 kilometers and five secondary lines with 72 kilometers, respectively, to improve traffic in the Philippines, especially in the National Capital Region.
The JICA road map defines “Mega Manila” as Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, the main focus in this study.
The transport road map emphasizes the need to establish better north-south connectivity and appropriate hierarchy of different transportation modes such as roads, railways, and other mass transits.
The road map also aims to realize five NOs: 1. No traffic congestion; 2. No household living in high hazard risk areas; 3. No barrier for seamless mobility; 4. No excessive transport cost burden for low-income groups; 5. No air pollution.
JICA Philippines chief representative Noriaki Niwa emphasized that the road map is important to make Metro Manila a globally competitive and environmentally sustainable city.
Under the initial proposal, the subway system will connect the northern and southern part of Metro Manila from Calamba City in Laguna and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan and would pass through Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.
Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation application, reported that on a city level, Manila has the worst traffic on Earth, with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in South America, and Jakarta in Southeast Asia not far behind.