An umbrella group of commuter stakeholders has thrown its support to proposals by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to address the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila, including the transfer of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Manila North Harbor.
“There is no denying that our roads in Metro Manila and even in neighboring provinces are too congested now,” said Elvira Medina, president of the National Center for Commuters Safety and Protection Inc.
Medina urged the government to also implement a seamless and integrated transportation system if NAIA and Manila North Harbor operations are moved outside Metro Manila.
Jica, in a 2014 study requested by the National Economic and Development Authority, said traffic jams have been causing productivity loss of at least P2.4 million a day.
It warned that productivity loss could reach P6 billion a day in 2030 if the problem is not solved, prompting lawmakers to cite the study as ground for proposals to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to solve the traffic mess.
Jica noted that since domestic shipping is primarily from the south of Manila, there would be savings in ship operating cost if they dock in Batangas rather than at the North Harbor.
“This would free up North Harbor, which has an area of about 600 hectares, for possible conversion into a mixed-use waterfront property development. For the City of Manila, it represents an opportunity to revitalize the city and regain its old glory,” Jica said. The Manila Standard recently published a feature on the city whose former glory Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada wanted to revive.
The JICA study also found that additional commuting cost for passengers if Clark is converted as the country’s main airport makes the plan not feasible.
“It is proposed therefore, that a new study be initiated to find a replacement for NAIA within a short radius of 50 km and to examine the full range of costs. Redeveloping Sangley combined with an access system may turn out to be cheaper,” it said.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has earlier expressed support to the JICA proposals, which also include the construction of a mega-Manila Subway System and secondary mass transport lines as well as reforming the road-based public transport system.
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