Why Metro Manila’s horrific traffic will NEVER be ‘solved’

Just what we need. More requests for “patience” and “understanding”. That is what Malacanang beseeches Filipinos to show while the government pays lip service to the decades-long but fruitless effort to “solve” Metro Manila’s infamously hellish traffic.

According to Malacanang mouthpiece Herminio Coloma Jr, the government puts foremost importance in the livelihood of Filipinos and recognises the importance of the health of businesses that are affected by Metro Manila’s horrendous traffic jams. Words like these are small comfort to most Filipinos. Patience they say is a virtue. Thus, if so, Filipinos are likely to be the most virtuous people on the planet.

Hopelessness, helplessness, and isolation grips Filipino motorists and commuters everyday.
Hopelessness, helplessness, and isolation grips Filipino motorists and commuters everyday.
Traffic hell has long been the bane of the existence of Metro Manila’s hapless residents. It sucks the life out of them — literally. The average Metro Manilan will spend more than 10 years of her life stuck in traffic, the equivalent of a prison term for a murderer. The government’s asking for “patience” and “understanding” is no different to the routine assurance we give many victims of the Philippines’ violent crimes that justice will be served.

We can all but take stock of the sad futility in the government’s limpdicked efforts to “solve” Metro Manila’s traffic mess. U-turn slots, counterflow systems, more roads, more flyovers, truck bans, truck lanes, odd-even schemes, yadda yadda. All of these quaint measures to “solve” traffic are examples of Filipinos’ small-minded approach to solving its problems. Most of these problems are results of failures to anticipate them when there was opportunity to mitigate them. They are a testament to the Filipinos’ world-renowned national affliction: an abject lack of imagination.

It does not take much imagination to see the idiocy in the way land public transport routes have been managed by the Philippine government. These have all been doled out willy-nilly to two-bit bus and jeepney operators — probably in exchange for gratuitous “commissions” these operators were happy to fork out to officials. Why do you need to build a new room in your house if all you need to do to get back some personal space is to kick out mooching relatives camped in your pad rent-free while they “look for a job” — for the 20th year and counting?

Indeed, the thinking that goes on in the pointed heads of the Philippines’ bright boys goes something like this:

We need to build more roads so that buses and jeeps can continue hogging three lanes in major highways when loading and unloading their passengers.

You know your government is bullshitting you when it does nothing to address the obvious solutions and instead chooses to spend tens of millions of dollars on “projects” that are nothing more than temporary workarounds. And that, essentially, is what the Philippines is, a massive temporary solution on a national scale — the outcome of lots of small-minded “actions” underpinned by very little thinking.

Indeed, the jugular of the vast urban cancer that is comprised of private bus and jeepney operators laying waste to the Philippines’ premiere metropolis lies in just two points — (1) the vehicle registration process and (2) the public route franchise licensing process. The government has full control of both of those lifelines to the bus-and-jeepney cancer that is holding Metro Manila hostage. It can shut down any further issuance of licenses to these operators — tomorrow.

Of course, that solution is just too obvious. There’s billions of pesos to be spent on “infrastructure projects” and billions more to be skimmed off that and diverted to officials’ “preferred” contractors and NGOs. To the typical thieving government official, the obvious solutions simply don’t make business sense — which is why Filipinos shouldn’t hold their breath. The investment in “patience” and “understanding” the government is asking them to make will yield ZERO return. The system is rigged to fail Filipinos by design.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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46 Comments on "Why Metro Manila’s horrific traffic will NEVER be ‘solved’"

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Jim DiGriz

I said it before and I say it again.

GET OUSIDE HELP from professionals and then stick to the new rules!

Since that will never happen, your explanation remains 100% spot on.

Jim DiGriz

If all the cars in the Philippines were placed end to end, it would probably be just another day in Manila.


The good news is…WAIT….WAIT…..WAIT FOR IT!

BWAH HA HA HA…just kidding!!! There is no good news!

The country is screwed, sitting in traffic for ten years of your life MANILANO’S, or a ‘hot-shot’ of brown sugar! That is the question!


but hey guys guys didnt you know that traffic is a sign of “progress”? :p

Pilosopo Socrates

Basically the government’s response is:

“We will solve this problems eventually … (not specified when)”

So it’s basically a one big screw you to everyone else who is not a politician.

I once tolerated about these ‘projects’ but if they never were designed for long term progress then the entire NCR can collapse if something as big as Yolanda comes knocking at our door.


Government must take over the mass transportation.

At least, along EDSA, the government must manage a monopoly of state own bus system. Private bus companies will never improve and cooperate with government.

It is impossible to build more roads in Metro Manila and or widen existing roads. The solution left is to control the volumes of cars travelling. If the government can take over and modernise bus system, then people would be encourage to use buses more.


Funny that our highways are patterned from Indonesia (and guess what, they hired Indonesian consultants in most of these highway projects too!) while Indonesia is suffering from a worse traffic case compared to ours.

And now our traffic situation is getting closer to theirs. Ohhh well.

Aurelio S. Solidum

No Traffic Czar could solved the problem. How many new cars are being sold in the country and with the existing narrow roads, the result is traffic snarls everywhere. Additionally, lots of drivers do not follow road and traffic signs. As I said, nobody, just nobody can resolve the traffic mess of MM.

Of course it can be solved. For one, you have to limit the number of buses plying the major roads at any one time. Determine the mos efficient of buses for a specific route. The best way is to have bus schedules along every stop. Also, provide alternative bus routes, not only along the major thoroughfares but also through other less busy roads. Re-educate (real lessons) all drivers, public and private. Re-exam (real examinations) afterwards. Those who cannot pass, no driver’s license, even if it means loss of livelihood. Remove the jeepney and tricycles at least on major arteries. For… Read more »

Why does everything need to be in one place? We have so much land for industries and coasts for ports. Subic, Clark, etc. were once prioritized for development. Now, these are ghost towns with rundown remnants of the businesses there. Should have become bustling cities on their own by now.


It’s amazing how the number of people who travel and PUVs that go to biyahe in Metro Manila never halts even on weekends. By the way, add FXs and family van to the buses, taxis and jeepneys. I guess the new philosophy today is, “those who can’t do namamasada.” Pasig ferry boat was once a promising reduction to transportation problem but I guess the air emitted by the waters is hazardous to health? While the old-fashioned train… is still old fashioned.


It follows that a busy populated city would have a pack of commuters that made transportation business one of the IN business in Metropolis. Imagine how much earnings the government could have collected if they are able to produce state of the art passenger trains/means of transport that can carry most of the commuters (besides reducing the wasted time cause by traffic that could’ve gone to accomplishing other things).


I’ve been to other countries and the only thing that…

1. I notice is there’s no jeepneys- what I mean is, there’s only one public transpo and that is Gov’t owned buses that has a strict time schedule.

2. They focused/put their funds on their own Metro, even though their metro consists of 4-6 lines, they pretty much accommodate the traffic infested places.

please take note their Metro are underground Subways.

Philippines is too late to modify existing MRT & LRT but its never too late to make this adjustments.

Kaso hindi parin ako aasa na giginhawa un traffic. sa 2020 siguro :))


Our government needs to think out of the box how to solve this horrific monstrous traffic congestion in our city, to encourage more commuters to use public transportation instead of using their car just like Bolivia’s government; we should have our own cable car. For sure, this is a hit for all those who wanted to see the air polluted cities of Metro Manila and want to go to work on time.

hopefully the next Govt will do its utmost to implement a BRT scheme like what a South American country has, scheduled buses & specially modified, no steps on doors just the entrance & exit, so that it can only let people in & out at specific bus stops. Also go SG when it comes to private cars, taxed to almost half its sticker prize and only allowed to be registered for a number of years. and deny car buyers, those who can afford it with the new tax, that cannot show proof that they have a garage, so that they… Read more »

Nuke it start again

Others have proposed possible long-term solutions to the traffic problem of Metro Manila. Taken together all of these will be able to drastically reduce traffic congestion. Some solutions are all too obvious but they all require collective effort and a lot of political will. -Get rid of all obsolete jeepneys, buses, tricycles and pedicabs. Put them all to scrap. -Consolidate all bus transit companies (incl. jeepney and tricycle associations) going in and out of Metro Manila into one unified a semi-private mass transportation company or something similar to take over all mass transit operations. -Purchase brand-new buses, e-jeepneys and e-tricycles,… Read more »

There’s also the Filipinos lack of common sense when it comes to job qualifications. Traffic problems are an engineering, logistical and city-planning problem. Instead of assigning engineers and city planners to solve this problem, who do Filipinos put in charge?


So stupid.

Hyden Toro13

“Patience and Understanding”, my Ass. They could have solved the traffic problems, a long time ago.

Just Decongest the Metro Manila area from SQUATTERS. However, these people are the Sources of Block Votes of politicians, like Aquino and Estrada. So, no way they will do it.

And , Disperse the Industries and Commercial Centers to other provinces; and other parts of the country. They will never do this; because they are the sources of “lagay”. Corruption prevails over public good. This is Aquino way of politics.

Unless, you will Rattle these idiots; they will never budge and move.

You are right on the spot. You got the problem as is. Indeed if you regulate and discipline, jeepneys, buses and all other kinds of “public transportation” the problem will be solved. not even spending a peso for a new road!!! But spending on new roads is so much money flows to all kinds of comissions, creating imaginery jobs etc. All these big companies of buses and strong unions of jeepneys they do control the goverment towards to their own profit by not giving a second thought to the people. From the other side, traffic enforcers are 99% hiding behind… Read more »