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.

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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
Guest

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.

The Original Sandinista Kid
Guest

How about outsourcing the daily operations of this government to Singapore? I guess it is better that our country be ran like heaven by Singaporeans rather than like hell by Filipinos.

Jim DiGriz
Guest

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

VLAD
Guest

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!

abner
Guest

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

Pilosopo Socrates
Guest

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.

kaloy
Guest

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.

Mlley
Guest

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
Guest

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.

joeld
Guest
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 »
The Original Sandinista Kid
Guest

How about bring back government monopolies on all public transport (including inter-island/inter-modal)?

joeld
Guest

What does being privately owned or otherwise got to do with implementing and following a set of guidelines?

gilbs72
Guest

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.

Jim DiGriz
Guest

Have you ever tried to get a place in Clark? The rental they are asking is unrealistically high and things are extremely complicated. They are fucking nuts. So companies walk away. Why it’s like that? Corruption! What else. The people in charge up there are fat, corrupt swines.

AlexA
Guest

Thanks for posting. If this is the case in Clark (or Subic?), this is a major concern for all of us! It explains a lot about the congestion problem we are in, and why some perceived solutions are not working! Grabe na ‘to! Somebody should deeply look into this.

Narra
Guest

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.

Narra
Guest

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).

Narra
Guest

This will also cut the project on road widening since the purpose of that project is to support the ever growing numbers of vehicles that crowded the road. The “budget” for such project can be channeled to a more promising one.

Sp0rk
Guest

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 :))

Chris
Guest

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.

Monakh
Guest
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 »
Yawn
Guest

Nuke it start again

VLAD
Guest

A GREAT IDEA !

Jmac
Guest
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 »
The Original Sandinista Kid
Guest

How about you run for president then???

RandomCommenter
Guest

Typical idiotic, non-contributing response.

He offers possible solutions that may help the metro, but people like you (pretty much that’s the majority) can’t help but immediately dismiss these ideas. Then what? “Masanay ka na lang”?

Jmac
Guest

Sadly it’s to be expected RandomCommenter, hence why people like him prove the point I made in my last paragraph.

You give criticism and you’re accused of being negative for negativity’s sake then they’ll tell you to contribute solutions to the problem instead. But when you do give possible solutions, you get responses like that, “Ikaw na lang maging Presidente!”

Like I said, practically minded people will be open to any possible solutions.

They’re imbeciles. They deserve their own hopeless miserable state.

joeld
Guest

FYI, way back 2010, some guys with capability run for presidency, but who did you guys put into office, a 50-year-old non-achiever.

“What a maroon!!”
-Bugs Bunny

john c. jacinto
Guest

bring back gordon for president of the boy scouts!

domo
Guest

Stupid excuse is stupid. Indeed, big minds (like Jmac) talk about solutions while small minds (like you dimwit) talk about people. I hope you’re crying like a baby from suffering imperial manila’s hell you turd.

Jmac
Guest

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?

LAWYERS.

So stupid.

Johnny Saint
Guest

Would those engineers be required to ride the train to work? Would lawyers be qualified if they rode the train to work?

😉

Jmac
Guest

Like joeld said, engineers tend to have a different approach to solving problems. It’s a more ‘grounded’ approach to solving problems so to speak. Lawyers tend to have a ‘legalistic’ approach.

Compare former MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando’s (engineer) stint to the current chairman Francis Tolentino’s (lawyer). Also, almost all the top government officials of China are scientists and engineers. Their government’s authoritarianism aside, their style of leadership tends to be more pragmatic. Imagine if in a democracy, scientists and engineers are running government instead of lawyers or career politicians.

joeld
Guest

Speaking from a typical person hailing from the engineering profession point of view, we engineers tend to find out by ourselves first hand, if our implemented changes are/were successful. That is why “trial and trial, error and error” is popular among the engineering profession.

It would be most probable that he would try to commute, at least, if only to find out if his expectations are met.

No offense to the lawyer but this is where having the right tool for the job comes in. Jmac does have a valid point.

Bias me, 🙂

Hyden Toro13
Guest

“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.

archon
Guest
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 »