Skyway Stage 3 construction: Filipinos to ‘sacrifice’ yet again as Metro Manila braces for years of standstill traffic

True to form, Filipinos are abuzz again with half-assed ideas on how best to cope with the heavier-than-heavy traffic that will snarl Metro Manila as construction on the long-overdue “Skyway Stage 3” project which will link the South Luzon Tollway (SLT) to the North Luzon Expressway (NLE) via an elevated six-lane 15-kilometre elevated highway through the heart of Manila. In addition to this, work on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Phase 2 will also begin linking the airport to the Seaside Entertainment City.

As usual, “sacrifice” is expected of Filipinos as the consequences of decades of neglect and lack of foresight loom over Metro Manila like dark clouds before a super-typhoon…

Last week, the MMDA went on a last-minute brainstorming.

It raised the possibility of a four-day school week to help minimize traffic congestion, especially since the Skyway project would affect 23 schools. This was roundly nixed by private schools. Another suggestion was to hold classes on campuses outside of Metro Manila.

On the MMDA website, Tolentino asked private companies to adopt a flexible work schedule—“flexitime”—“for their employees, especially those located along the route of the construction projects.”

And yet another bright idea popped up: Resume operation of the Pasig ferry boat.

All of these measures were announced a few days before the expected massive gridlock, indicating that the MMDA was totally unprepared to deal with the problem that, according to a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, was causing losses amounting to P2.4 billion a day in potential income.


Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

The Philippines is renowned for its fatal approach to breakdown maintenance. The devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda) in November last year highlighted the way risks long recognised by Filipinos remaine unaddressed and unmitigated as a matter of habitual routine on account of their society’s and government’s lack of any real will and capability to anticipate the future over the long-term.

Metro Manila has been a broken megalopolis for decades. It is beset by a vast squatter infestation and its residents are routinely hit by many preventable disasters that are outcomes of its appalling congestion. Its sewage system has long ago stopped working effectively and raw effluent bubbling onto the surface of streets and spilling into the Pasig River and its tributaries is a common sight. The continued use of World War II era public transportation systems to serve the majority of its population has resulted in a chronic corrosiveness in its atmosphere which deposits unsightly soot on most of its buildings and likely causes many health problems. Drug-crazed public bus drivers also ply its main thoroughfares and are a major cause of horrible traffic fatalities. Much of the city’s character is a result of unregulated private property development and much of the city’s residents’ civic and community life revolves around massive airconditioned shopping malls.

Filipino drivers are also recognised as among the most inconsiderate in the world and a distinct driving style has evolved that all but thwarts any attempt to implement order and a more systematic approach to traffic management on the streets of the Philippines’ major cities.

As if to provide a timely dry run of the monstrous gridlock that will likely become a daily occurrence in the city once the contruction work ramps up, the mighty Iglesia ni Cristo religious sect mounted huge shows of force late last year and early this year, both of which all but paralysed Metro Manila and likely delivered a negative effect on its already struggling economy.

Opportunities to develop “alternative” means of transport have lapsed long ago. One idea, which is to use the many waterways — both natural and man-made — that weave the metropolis together is a sensible one but will require massive investment to implement. Aside from these, other ideas have been tabled — albeit belatedly — by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in a brainstem-storming crunch in the lead-up to this weeks traffic crunch…

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino pointed out some possible solutions, such as better use of alternate modes of transport, like the MRT and LRT, the Pasig River ferry system, carpooling and bicycles; changes in schedules like flexible work hours and 24/7 construction of infrastructure projects; new work or business strategies like a 4-day work week; and lifestyle changes such as the removal of number coding scheme’s window hours and a car-less day along EDSA.

Tolentino said: “A coordination committee will be created to finalize everything.”

A “coordination” committee. To be “formed” just days before the looming traffic disaster bears down on hapless Metro Manilans. Classy.

For now, Filipinos imprisoned in Metro Manila’s vast blight will have to do what Filipinos do best: sacrifice. That is, after all, the best recommendation their popularly-elected government can come up with.

53 Replies to “Skyway Stage 3 construction: Filipinos to ‘sacrifice’ yet again as Metro Manila braces for years of standstill traffic”

    1. As you say — there will always be a traffic problem in a heavily congested urban area. The point of contention isn’t whether the new infrastructure is necessary. It’s the planning and execution that are dubious. This project is more catch up from an administration that willed itself into stagnation for three years. And now the best excuse it can come up with is that the sacrifice will be worth it in the end.

      1. You really are an idiot if you blame the current administration. Id be blaming all administrations since 1993. The population then was 65 million today its 95 million. All previous administrations did jack shit with respect to gnificantly improving infrastrature gradually to accomodate the increasing population. And now finally that a particular administratio has decided to bite the bullet all you can do is whine about its implementation and provide no construction solutions about the basis of you whinging. Once a again youre a complete %uc%ing numbnut. Thailand also went through a similarly difficult period. Few complain now. The problem with you morons on this site is all you do is %u$%ing complain and have no solutions. If these projects do ease traffic youll likely find something else to whinge about its success.

        1. As evidenced by the casual use of a severely limited vocabulary consisting mostly of vulgarity and profane language, HawkEye’s thinking is retarded by the steaming pile of ordure between his ears.

          He seems to be saying that the second Aquino administration is the only one to attempt a major transportation infrastructure project. Apparently he has forgotten Cory Aquino’s flyovers to nowhere and the first two segments of the Metro Manila Skyway — inaugurated under Fidel Ramos. And the Manila Metro Rail Transit System. And Bayani Fernando’s ridiculous elevated U-turns.

          A succession of well-meaning governments promised these grandiose schemes to be once-and-for-all solutions to alleviate the suffering of Metro Manila’s residents. We all suffered and sacrificed during their construction. And to-day, traffic jams are still costing us up to 170 billion Pesos a year. All because the solutions previously implemented were either unfinished or improperly designed to begin with. Are you listening HawkEye?

          And now the current administration would have us believe that completing the 15 kilometre third stage of the SkyWay is the next once-and-for-all answer to alleviating traffic in the Metro. If we look back on the history of the past administrations, it is doubtful that this new construction will lead to an actual solution. HawkEye, clean out the coprolite behind your eyes and try comprehending the article before blurting out personal attacks. Gridlock is still likely to ensue precisely because of the reasons benign0 states in the article. No new construction is going to change that, no matter how well meaning.

          In the end, this massive initiative boils down to an effort by Noynoy Aquino to claim that he DID manage to get SOME infrastructure project going after all. A task he should have done — something which ALL Filipinos were expecting — AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF HIS ADMINISTRATION.

          HawkEye also complains that GRP ‘complains’ too much without providing any suggestions or solutions. I don’t suppose it would be possible to educate someone who is either too stupid to recognise a solution or simply refuses to acknowledge a good idea when it hits them in the face.

          The fact is there is no shortage of ideas proposed on GRP and in other venues to address the traffic situation in Metro Manila and road infrastructure requirements in general. Pres. Aquino claims one of the biggest problems is former Pres. Marcos issued laws favouring his cronies and the PNCC. What is puzzling is that the PNCC is directly controlled by Malacañang and yet Penoy has not made any effort to correct this supposed stranglehold the PNCC has over the DOTC.

          Metro Manila’s traffic congestion could be alleviated — according to ADB consultant Rene Santiago — by simply rehabilitating, upgrading and expanding the computerized signaling system that enables coordination of signal timing and patterns across the road network, from one intersection to the next. That will get us more throughput from our limited road space. Instead of expanding the system, as what a modern metropolis do, Metro Manila moved backward and dismantled nearly 50 percent of the intersections in favor of the primitive and uncoordinated U-turn schemes.

          Rolando Gosiengfiao, chairman of the BCDA, emphasises the potential of Bus Rapid Transit as a better solution to the metro area’s public transport woes than all these expensive MRTs and LRTs. Consider this: the Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit system has more people throughput than any MRT in the world. This would also solve the problems we have with bus drivers who simply refuse to behave because of the ‘boundary’ system. With lower capital and operating costs, you could even run this system 24/7.

          Granted these might not be grandiose spectacles that thick-headed lumps like HawkEye expects government to produce but they are more likely to gradual, piecemeal and — more importantly — LASTING improvements in the quality of life in Metro Manila. But try explaining that to an unrealistic berk who’s always expecting some revolutionary idea to rally around.

        2. And that’s the Pinoy way of thinking exemplified, Tokwa – short-term.

          As we say in purchasing and supply chain, the lowest cost at time of purchase does not necessarily guarantee lowest cost over a contract term/set time period. 2nd hand cars may be cheaper at the time of purchase, but if other costs such as upkeep, maintenance, et al., will compound it over the course of the time of service, eh di parang wala din.

        3. Nothing wrong with the Skyway 3. But a rapid bus system will definitely help more in adressing the traffic. Let it compete with the privately owned PUBs. The problem with the Philippines public transport system is that the public conveyances wait for the passengers in stops (causing the traffic congestion) instead of the passenger waiting for them. The buses especially along EDSA should have their schedules, passengers or no passengers. The problem with this is the Phil. government do not own any bus system at the moment (or is there?). If they make the public transport operate like clockwork with utmost efficiency, reliability and comfort, more and more people would opt for that instead of driving their own cars.

        4. Ultimately, it’s a failure of the Philippine government’s regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The lack of discipline and failure to apply the law on our streets emboldens boorish behaviour. Even with more road space you would still end up in gridlock.

          And it’s a failure of our policy makers. Lazing about for over three years, the Aquino government now feels pressured to produce some token infrastructure that they can point to as part of their dubious legacy. Hence the urgency to start digging before 2016.

          Worst of all is the failure of leadership. Critics can point to the shoddy performance of the DOTC but the final responsibility lies with Malacañang and President Penoy. Mar Roxas brought a gaggle of lawyers with him into the DOTC. Not surprisingly, these idiots proved to be the most incompetent managers to run an agency that requires engineers and technical specialists. On top of that they proved to be shameful poltroons who were unwilling to assume any political risks. If they were all afraid of the challenges of public service, why the HELL did they bother to sign up in the first place? To add insult to injury, Budget Secretary Butch Abad has the temerity to publicly lament the fact that the administration has a lack of technically competent people! Unbelievable!


          Some people have high professional standards, practical experience, and understand the criticality of planning.

          Others are bureaucrats/pen pushers who have never built, designed, engineered, project managed anything. Building a lego house would be beyond them.

  1. in before most of the logical fallacies

    the point of the article is not that the skyway 3 is bad, its that why the heck were traffic mitigation measures NOT included in the planning for the project. This has been long in the making, probably years and only NOW are they tackling the issue?

    1. Thats because there IS no solution. Are you serious? Do you travel daily that particular stretch of road? So given there is no solution do you want the road or not? You probably so anti pinoy youd be the typical idiot who would say no i dont want it! Grabe!

      1. Mas grabe ka because you are totally…


        Congratulations, you just went full RETARD with what you wrote.

  2. Reading articles on this website makes me feel negative. Almost (if not) all articles here have a pessimistic vibe to it. I think we should start thinking collectively rather than be a bunch of self righteous people who do nothing but criticize.

    1. If you enjoy the smoke screens produced by spin doctors go ahead and never return here again. You won’t be missed . Go to a website appropriate for you critical thinking capability . It sure as hell ain’t this one.

      1. Everything is classified as a “smoke screen”, in that case what should we (or I) believe? Let me ask you a question, what have YOU done to make this country better besides bashing other people and making yourself look intelligent?

        1. “What have YOU done to make this country better besides bashing other people and making yourself look intelligent?”

          Solid Snake, as the average Tax Paying Resident/ Citizen that we are, there is not much we can do besides pay our required dues on time an diligently AND air our displeasure with how government projects are implemented haphazardly, which is a normal activity on this forum. If something bothers you personally, would you not speak out?

        2. The point isn’t to make you feel all warm and cozy inside. The point is to show people how to think critically on issues plaguing this country. The point is to present the truth, even if it’s ugly.

          Maybe because that’s just it. What you perceive as negativity is actually the truths about our country being described in this website, and these truths are often ugly. It’s a dose of ugly realities most Filipinos willfully refuse to confront. It’s not the fault of the authors that the truths themselves are ugly – they already are, and they’re just being described as they are without any rose-colored lenses or positive spins.

        3. I don’t claim to be intelligent. My approach is to see what is there and ask questions. Publish those questions here and maybe others also ask their own questions. For many people in the Philippines the smoke screen is enough. I try to help people even notice the smokescreen . If your government was sincere from the start then there would be less need for a Get Real Phil. But we know they are a bunch of lying manipulators. So we let them know we know, btw, if you want a more detailed explanation read Why GRP is a positive website dated Jan 1 2014. Authored by me,

    2. LOL! “Self-righteous people who do nothing but criticize?” That phrase in itself belies the fatal flaw in Filipinos’ thinking that will doom them to chronic impoverishment for a long time to come:

      They just don’t listen when they don’t like or agree with what is being said.

      1. I just dont agree with everything, but sometimes we dont see the positive things the government is doing for us. “Puro tayo reklamo” as the saying goes : )

        1. Doing the right thing there equates to being sneered and jeered at at best and a bullet in your head at worst.

        2. If you don’t agree with everything, you don’t need to stop at disagreeing. All commentators to this site are encouraged to build their counter-assertions very carefully. If you think that there is something else that can be said, let’s hear it.

          With that being said, kindly enumerate some of “the positive things” that you think should be mentioned.

          That “start thinking collectively” thing you espoused in your very first comment requires an acceptance and a meeting of varied, and usually contradicting, opinions.

        3. If the status quo is more important for you than crying out for change; if you consider criticism as insult or just a negative attribute, then you have brain damage, son.

    3. You are in the philippines where ignorance is bliss , collective apathy rules, and a harsh reality/incompetence is the result, and which will only change when people face problems/issues rather than want to avoid them, think for themselves rather than abdicate responsibility, ask questions rather than believe propaganda, and speak up rather than just turn up the volume on the videoke machine.

      Or you can collectively just pretend yolanda victims are happy, corruption doesn’t exist, pnoy is the messiah etc. etc.
      Democracy is wasted on such people, which is why you don’t have it, and why you just don’t get it.

        1. yep. i back read some of them but all i see is hatred and nothing constructive. i mean if you all have such good ideas, why dont you use it to influence others and perhaps make change.

        2. @ SS, the nastiness is unnecessary BUT the people who run the country are thieving weasels. U C they are beholden to hire authorities than the filippine people and although they say they are not a ‘colony'(they aren’t lucky enough) the gov’t. is totally reliant upon others for their ‘protection’. and so, they act as they do, w/total impunity with regard to thievery from the people & GOCC’s, like electric utilities, ramping up rates to the sky because they know the people can not hold them accountable.
          & it is not just GMA or Estrada or Aquino, it is every single frikkin one of them. the charades you see concerning ‘blue-ribbon’ panels are choreographed masquerades designed to amuse you…and that is all.

      1. What the hell is with that idiot thing?? Ive seen majority of your posts and you always say idiot to everyone. So sorry boy genius.

        1. “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
          ― Harlan Ellison

          People who would still need proof of 1 + 1 allegedly equals 2, because they say it is just an opinion, are just plain dumb.


    4. I agree with you. The numbnuts on this site talk about faults with Filipinos yet display most of these characteristics themselves; I’m always right (too ashamed to admit they might be wrong, if caught out the usual response is “go do your own research”, complain and provide NO meaningful alternatives or constructive solutions. I’d swear they’re all gay (I’m sure Begnin0 actually is!). BTFW im not a Filipino. But really this site makes me sick.

      1. Right, and you have obviously used all your ammunition against us by accusing us of being “gay”.
        You claimed to have read all the articles?then how come you’re still missing every point of them?

      2. The very reason why you say these things is because of your flawed thinking, using emotional outbursts rather than logical thinking

        …which is very existent to many Pinoys. 😛

    1. They’re putting BS Aquino in a position to say: “Hey, at least I started something. The aftermath is my successor’s problem.”

  3. That is pure an outright incompetence of elected official and appointed ones, at it’s very best!

    As I have said a lot of times, the government do not make plans, they just react to situations as they come. Complete lack of foresight, ineptitude at it’s peak.

    And to all those who elected these idiots (who in turn appointed their own idiots)… what does that make you?

  4. Visit the newly launched website – which wasn’t working the day after launch – to see how badly planned this exercise is.

    The website is a disgrace. no information at all.
    The designers international red do not even figure in a google search. Mmm

    Billions of pesos being spent and no attempt to provide relevant updated information just a student style website. Incredible.
    why not a free mobile app updated in real time.
    sounds and looks like last minute panic.
    Expect big problems and ridiculous excuses.

  5. Why skyway instead of railroads? i guess it is much more higher the ratio of commuters compare to the people who owns private cars. i think, building and adding railroads and trains can decrease the traffic problem in urban areas.

  6. Building another road that will bypass the Metro. There are only a few percent of the volume of traffic that goes from south to north. It will not resolve the overflowing traffic in the metro. What we need are massive transportation like trains. Extending the LRT/MRT Loop and more passenger cars. It is much more viable of decongesting heavy traffic, and it cause much more less.

    1. They should also improve the national railway system like adding more trains or carts,better scheduling system and extension. It would reduce the number of provincial buses that comes to Metro Manila.

  7. Why do seemingly good projects executed badly? Like in the gated community I live in, Manila Water did their re-piping at the start of the school year 2013. Traffic was so horrendous in the morning due to road blockage, combined with the already poor layout of the subdivision and the main road just at the exit.

    At least I would’ve been a bit desensitized with the larger traffic gridlock once these projects are in the intensive part of the construction phase. Or maybe not.

    1. ‘Good’ is relative, isn’t it? It was a necessity more than anything else. I think you’ve already put your finger on what vexes you about these public works projects. A gated community that exits onto a main thoroughfare along which the main water line runs. Really shouldn’t expect any other outcome.

  8. The seven phases of a big project

    1. Wild enthusiasm
    2. Disillusionment
    3. Confusion
    4. Panic
    5. Search for the guilty
    6. Punishment of the innocent
    7. Promotion of non-participants

  9. why dafuq do we have to pay for this fucking shit. shit ass government I can’t even tell if this is governing anymore??. Use the money we pay. We pay for the shit you make with our own money.

  10. Without a doubt, there is just no political will in this corrupt administration to make the long necessary changes.
    1. There are about 2-3000 buses too many. Get rid of them
    2. No tricycles of any kind on public roads. They belong into subdivisions. Also no parking of them anywhere on public roads.
    3. On certain routes there are far too many jeepneys which are in fact driving coffins. They drive around half empty most of the time. Get rid of them.
    4. Synchronize all traffic lights in Metro Manila
    5. Fix dilapidated roads which slow down traffic to a crawl.
    6. Implement the stiffest possible fines for reckless buses and jeepneys which block the flow of traffic.
    7. Clear and fix all sidewalks so people don’t constantly walk on the street
    8. Absolutely forbid any religious or other festivity or procession, which calls for closing of streets. This is idiotic and cannot be accepted in a congested City like Manila.
    9. Where there is an LRT or MRT there should be no other public transport like buses or jeepneys available for the same route. Filipinos are the laziest people. For heaven sakes, is it too much to walk a few hundred meters? Double or triple the frequency of trains and make weekly, monthly and yearly passes available. Where else in the world do you have to buy a separate ticket for each trip? Such moronic things can only be found in the Philippines. The person responsible for this should be shot.
    10. Implement a Metro Manila wide truck ban between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. 8 hours in night time should be more than enough time to get goods delivered. During those hours the streets are pretty much empty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.