5 ways to decongest Metro Manila traffic

After neglecting the problem for nearly six years, it seems like the current government under President Benigno Simeon Aquino is finally addressing or at least acknowledging Metro Manila traffic congestion specially along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) – the notorious highway once famous for street revolutions but is now looking more and more like the world’s biggest parking lot or a car yard not just during rush hour, but especially when it gets flooded. That can mean any time it rains.

EDSA has turned into a huge parking lot.
EDSA has turned into a huge parking lot.
The situation on EDSA is now so bad that just an hour of heavy downpour already puts traffic at a standstill. When this happens, motorists and commuters weary from a day’s work who get stuck on the road can expect to reach their destination no earlier than 4 a.m. That is enough to cause severe anxiety for some people and put a strain on the country’s economy.

Maybe it was the fact that the Philippines was recently voted the country that has the 5th worst traffic in the world or maybe BS Aquino could not longer pretend that the traffic problem is evidence of “a booming economy” but, whatever the reason, he has lately come up with what he and his men think is a “solution” to the problem, which is to put additional manpower on the road to help the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel manage the traffic.

So far, BS Aquino’s government has assigned Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG) police officers and members of the Special Action Forces (SAF) in charge of manning six choke points along EDSA to direct traffic and, fingers crossed, keep things moving along. How long they will be deployed to their posts is not clear.

The operative word here is “seems”. It seems like BS Aquino is trying to fix the problem. However, the fact that he is only looking into how to solve the traffic woes in the last few months of his term says a lot about his lack of foresight and lack of commitment to finding a lasting solution to the issue. Like I always say, the solution will present itself once the problem has been identified or at least acknowledged. The President and his men who echo his sentiments were in denial in the last five years that there is a problem. No wonder the situation just went from bad to worse.

If BS Aquino is looking for some kind of legacy after he leaves office, solving the traffic congestion is not going to be it. Not only is he running out of time to come up with something permanent to fix it, he is approaching it the wrong way. Assigning police officers to direct the flow of traffic is not sustainable. First of all, the police officers were not employed or are not trained as traffic managers. It is not their primary function. Second, once they are called to perform their duties as police officers, they will have to abandon their usual duties and man temporary posts managing the traffic. After that gig expires, the situation on the road will likely go back to what it was originally – disorderly (not that the situation will have improved at all, we’re just talking hypothetically).

One police officer manning a particular “chokepoint” in Quezon City already commented that they have had to deal with a lot of drivers and commuters who violated traffic rules, which contributes to the congestion. In other words, the people on the road lack discipline and are themselves causing the traffic problem. The same behavior is evident in all the chokepoints along the highway – more drivers and commuters acting like they are above the law. That is enough proof that once the police officers are gone, the violators will go back to their old ways.

To solve or ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, the following needs to be done.

1. Hire an engineer as head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), not a lawyer.

MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino: Lawyers belong in courtrooms, not on the road directing traffic. (Photo source: Manila Bulletin)
MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino: Lawyers belong in courtrooms, not on the road directing traffic.
(Photo source: Manila Bulletin)
You need the right person who can apply the right thinking in charge to solve the problem. Currently, a lawyer is heading the MMDA. The President needs to fire Chairman Francis Tolentino as soon as possible and replace him with someone who has an engineering background. An engineer can think analytically and find a solution to what is essentially an engineering problem better than a lawyer could. The government should actually hire more engineers in sensitive cabinet posts instead of lawyers. Not that there is anything wrong with lawyers, but lawyers belong in a courtroom, not on the road trying to solve big problems. As they say, engineers are problem solvers. They isolate problems, analyze them, address them and come up with practical ways to change things. Engineers thrive on fixing things and are ‘big picture’ thinkers.

2. The public bus system should be systematically operated and bus drivers should be paid fixed salaries.

Lack of a modern system: Buses clamber all over one another to pick up passengers because of drivers paid on commission via the 'bounday' system.
Lack of a modern system: Buses clamber all over one another to pick up passengers because of drivers paid on commission via the ‘bounday’ system.
In most First World countries, buses operate on a schedule. Commuters know exactly what time to expect the bus to arrive at the bus station. There is order and systems in place. The commuters do not feel the need to worry about running after the bus in the middle of the road. That is not the case in the Philippines. At present, privately-owned buses servicing the public have no fixed schedule and compete with one another for passengers, quite often picking them up in the middle of the road. This causes traffic jams and chaos on the road. It doesn’t help that bus operators use incentives on their bus drivers instead of giving them a fixed salary. This makes the drivers more brazen in disregarding traffic rules when picking up and dropping off passengers.

The government can stop this nonsense by issuing a directive or guideline to bus operators to follow a system similar to that in the First World. This means investing in proper bus stations and meeting with bus operators to organize bus schedules. The government can force bus operators to follow the directive because it has the power to revoke the bus operator’s license if they refuse.

3. Improve or upgrade the rail transport system to reduce the cars on the road.

Living up to a tradition of government ineptitude: DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya
Living up to a tradition of government ineptitude: DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya
Since trains can take the commuting public from point A to B faster than buses and private vehicles, it should be the government’s priority to fix the country’s rail transport system. This includes the Philippine National Railways (PNR), Light Rail Transit Authority (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRT). Unfortunately, BS Aquino’s government had left the rail transport system, particularly the MRT in ruins. Six years of neglect under Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” Aguinaldo Abaya has resulted in regular train breakdowns, track problems, air-conditioning problems, near fatal accidents; not to mention commuters routinely suffering long snake-like queues at the train stations.

Sadly, the BS Aquino government doesn’t have the will power to fix the politics behind the maintenance issues of the trains. It is too convoluted to even discuss here. The government’s Public-Private Partnership scheme obviously doesn’t work for commuters. Having an efficient train system can greatly reduce the number of cars on the road.

4. Address lack of discipline on the road by enforcing the law.

Traffic signs are largely irrelevant to Filipino road users.
Traffic signs are largely irrelevant to Filipino road users.
The Philippines is a country someone described as a society full of “pasaways” — people lacking in discipline. This is very evident on Philippine roads. It’s like every man for himself. Every day reminds you of a scene from the film War of the Worlds or Independence Day – very chaotic. We now call exceptionally bad traffic jams carmageddons. But, really, everyday on Manila’s roads is carmageddon now any hour of the day or night.

The truth of the matter is, BS Aquino’s government felt the need to deploy the cops to manage traffic because the MMDA traffic enforcers weren’t doing their jobs properly. If they did, there wouldn’t be a need to ask for the PNP’s help. Maybe it’s because the MMDA felt like they were pushing the tide or were simply helpless and felt hopeless against unruly motorists and commuters. Either way, they were not effective at all.

When the motorists and commuters see that the traffic enforcers mean business, they will realize that they need to obey the road rules or else. At least, one would hope so. If you think about it though, MMDA or police officers need not be present on the roads all the time. The society just needs to use common sense. Common sense dictates that not following road rules will have consequences like creating traffic jams and accidents that can result in fatalities.

5. Build provisions for bike lanes and footpaths.

This is a long-term solution. The pork barrel politicians use to build basketball courts in the past should be used to build bike lanes and better footpaths on the roads instead. This will encourage more people to ride bikes going to work or school. More people will also consider going for walks when the roads have provisions for footpaths. Bike lanes and footpaths can help reduce the number of cars on the road and help people stay fit.

Bicycle traffic in Copenhagen: This could be a scene in Manila if there were more bike lanes.
Bicycle traffic in Copenhagen: This could be a scene in Manila if there were more bike lanes.
There are other solutions the government can do to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila. This includes not digging up roads just for the benefit of gaining brownie points before scheduled national elections. Unnecessary road works compound the traffic problem.

If only BS Aquino focused on fixing the traffic congestion in Metro Manila instead of vilifying his enemies from start of his term, the people could have seen great improvements on the roads before he left office. Unfortunately, it was apparent from Day One that BS Aquino is not someone who can think too far ahead.

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87 Comments on “5 ways to decongest Metro Manila traffic”

  1. It’s amazing a common citizen like Iida has more common sense to solve Manila’s unending traffic woes than all the politicians and city managers combined.

    Phil would be better off run by simple GRP authors and bloggers.

    -Common Sense for Pinoys party-
    Vote wisely next time; it’s the common sensical thing to do

    1. I doubt that bike lanes and improved public transport system will solve traffic woes in Mega Manila and the rest cities in the country. Cars just keep on increasing because Filipinos in general love cars because of both social and economic underpinnings over it. If we could only adapt to the eauropean standards not with the americans in terms of mobility or transportation.

      1. Gilbert Forbes,

        Bicycles today are used primarily for leisure; transportation a distant second. Way too many POVs (privately owned vehicles like automobiles and motorcycles) on the road is the biggest problem. Reduce the number of POVs and you get rid half of the traffic problems. It’s common sense.

        Aeta

      2. Cars not only give social status, but also comfortable ride against hot and very harsh tropical climate like ours. Mass biking system in Copenhagen works because of of favorable climate.

    2. I agree with you, Lida seems educated and I don’t want to start counting the educational backgrounds of mayors, congressmen and senators…
      You need a college degree to apply as a manager in fast food restaurant but you don’t need to finish high school to be president, that explains why mang inasal is managed better than the country.

  2. There should be a 6th “ways to decongest Metro Manila traffic: stop making and selling more automobiles and motorcycles, and limit the number of commercial buses, taxis, jeepneys, and tricycles. Philippine roadways are not designed to accomodate these many motor vehicles; it’s simply not.

    1. Many people rely on the automotive industry for their income. It is somewhat an indicator that a country’s industry is progressing. It is really up to the city planners and other agencies to step up. If people from bulacan, cavite, rizal and other provinces flock to the metro for their living, it is a challenge on the part of their provinces to create incentives for industries to prosper in their area. The reason why most people flock to the metro is the same why most nurses go abroad – lack of opportunities. Other cities such as Cebu have such great industries that we seldom encounter a pure blooded cebuano in manila today (unless for ither personal reasons). Its about time our local chief executives step up.

      1. Arki M Dez,

        “Many people rely on the automotive industry for their income” as a means to an end; and, it is not “an indicator that a country’s industry is progressing” in a healthy manner.

        Aeta

    2. Philippine roadways were not “designed” in the first place. They just happened and people were permitted to breed like rabbits and put their hutches right up to the edge of the roads and in some cases IN the roads.

      1. Jerry Lynch,

        Even the European summit that Pnoy attended said that “Philippine roadways were not “designed” in the first place” to accomodate these many motor vehicles. But greed always supersedes common sense and practicality when it comes to the Failipinos.

        Aeta

  3. I see a couple ways to HELP with the problem, but none of them will be easy to implement. First you need to hire a traffic engineer, rather than the attorney, who along with his family have overseen the destruction of once beautiful Tagaytay. Then you must remove all the private buses from the streets and develop a single government run city bus system. Of course that means somewhere you need to find some incorruptible people to manage that system. Institute a SYSTEM of bus routes with only marked stops where people MUST get on or off at the marked spots. Then perhaps Bus # 1 has a route and only travels that route where it intersects with Buses #2 & #3 for instance.

    Do what they do in Seoul & all buses have set fares with 2 pay options. Cash deposited in an automatic till machine or e-pay where the person loads a card which is placed on the machine reader. The fare is the same whether a person is going 1 stop or 15 stops. All people getting on enter at the front and exit in the middle (rear door). Once all passengers waiting at the stop are on and all the departing passengers are off, the bus leaves.

    The train system needs to be vastly expanded and maintained at all times. In most developed countries major cities have subway systems but that is not feasible for Manila because the system would be below sea level and even if built by someone with the know how and will to do so, could never be kept free of water. I would never ride in a subway built and/or maintained by Filipinos anyway.

    All traffic laws need to be enforced by officers paid enough that they don’t need to constantly demand bribes to look the other way. One thing that would help a lot would be for ALL cars during business hours be restricted, not by number coding, but to at least 2 occupants in every private car or light truck. Set up ride-share lots where commuters can do what Americans do and all gather at a lot where they park their cars & ride-share to work. This requirement should extend to politicians and other people who think they are better than everyone else. Make all traffic enforcers wear AND USE body cameras and then every time they willfully ignore traffic violations, discipline (fine) them so they have an incentive to do their job. Make it a P50K fine for any driver trying to bribe an officer and since he will be on camera, the bribes won’t be offered and if the fine or penalty for not following the occupant law is large enough, the violations will not happen. Of course the black tinted windows will have to be cleared and if officers are given a monetary incentive to check all tinted window cars for occupants then it will be a great incentive for drivers to remove that tinting that prevents the officers to see inside the car.

    Lastly, clean the damn drains so water will flow and give ALL officers an incentive to fine EVERYONE, including children, who throw trash on the streets. I am an American who has lived in The Philippines for 12 years I I have NEVER thrown any trash on your streets. That should embarrass every Filipino who throws trash in his own country while foreigners do not.

  4. copy the singapore model. a government-owned public transport system. one entry card for buses and trains. it works. harsh penalties for traffic violations. a demerit system for all drivers licenses. singapore has one of the best mass transit system in the world.

  5. I strongly agree with your #5 Ilda. Like Lourd said, “sa ikauunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan (for the country’s progress, bicycle is needed)”. After seeing Netherlands with their bicycle as their mode of transportation instead of cars, if only there are lots of bicycle lanes here in NCR, I really wanna do that as well if I will go from point A to B even if I go to Ayala from Pasig.

    1. Domo,

      You forgot one factor. The weather. Pinoys will not dare bike in hot humid weather. Most are lazy. One more thing, you need bike paths around manila for safety reasons.

      1. Yeah I know that especially if it’s raining. Well there’s still public vehicles like bus and trains as my option #2…if only they are very efficient.

  6. The writer seems to be biased towards people who take public transport and ignores the fact that it is private vehicles that take up most of the space in the roads. It’s not rocket science: there are just too many cars in the roads and most of them are private vehicles. Reduce that number and we’re halfway there.

    1. Vehicle reduction should not be pitched as the one and only solution. It should be a contributing solution to an overall program of work. There is also throughput improvement — solutions that enable existing roads to handle a greater volume of vehicular flow. Within that space is a raft of sciences and analytical approaches that can be applied. It just takes a bit of thinking and the deployment of the right people with the right problem solving skills to tackle the challenge.

    2. @superlucky20

      It’s not as simple as that, it is true that “private vehicles take up most of the space in the roads”. But private vehicles starts from Point A then stops at Point B, in which the only time they will stop is at a stoplight, vehicle in front of them stops and their destination. Unlike a public vehicle which would likely slow down or stop at almost every intersection, which will slow down the flow of traffic.

      1. @Tokwa,

        So private vehicle operators, including undiscipline commercial buses, truck, jeepney, taxi, and tricyle operators, are the ones ‘broken,’ not the traffic lights. Everybody knows all drivers in the Philippines break the traffic laws all the time, if they know they can get away with it. Everybody.

    3. superlucky20,

      That’s what I’m trying to explain to marius and ChinoF, but they don’t seem to get it. ChinoF says the “broken system” is at fault why traffic is bad, and not the addition of more automobiles. If that’s the case, why is the system trying to make the situation worse by adding more vehicles on the road? I don’t get it.

      Aeta

    4. Aeta: if you knew me (superlucky does, although possibly doesn’t realise it 🙂 you’d know I’m more rabidly anti-car than you are. You’re quite right that there should be fewer of them on the roads. The politicians could probably make a lot of money from that: check out London’s “congestion charge”.

      But then what? London has a functioning subway system and lots of buses. Manila doesn’t even have sidewalks. So how do people get to work and back?

      Of course, any congestion charges COULD be used to fund public transport. Good luck with that in the land of the empty cookie jar.

      1. Marius,

        If you were to read my earlier, much earlier. contention (I tried to respond to your last post on your experience of dealing with the government, but I accidentally deleted it. I’m re-writing it now), I have been opposed to the uncontrolled number of automobiles and motorcycles being produced and sold in the country since the very beginning of this trend, because it has contributed to the already “broken system” that ChinoF was asserting the reason for the traffic congestion in the cities.

        Yet, he (ChinoF) felt that the growing number of POVs are not adding to the traffic congestion. I’m totally bewildered by his agreement with you that the number of POVs on the road is not the major cause of traffic. So it made me conclude that you’re both not opposed to the idea that too many POVss on the road doesn’t affect the traffic in the country.

        Although it’s an ardous task–if it’s even possible to change the way Filipinos have gotten used to getting around the country–it’s still possibe to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, without implementing the widespread use of MRTs/LRTs, by stopping–or strictly limiiting–the productions and sales of POVs; limit the number of commercially-owned buses, taxis, jeepnes, and tricycles; and implement government-run buses (and refurbished these buses with state of the art exhaust system) that run on schedule.

        This is what they do in Japan and the state of Hawaii. Because of the limited parking areas, the people are more apt to take the bus–or railway in Japan–that run on on a 365/24/7, than take their car, wade through traffic, and find a parking spot. The Philippine government need to implement the same system in the country to cut back on traffic and air pollution.

        That cookie jar you speak of has been empty for a very long time. People are just imagining and devising new scams to dip their hands into the cookie jar, even it means hurting the country and each other.

        Aeta

      2. Aeta: yes, of course you can limit the number of private vehicles. Nothing would be easier, and the criminal syndicates – sorry, the government – could probably find a way to make money out of doing so.

        My point was: how does that make life any better for anyone? People still have to get around. The reduction of cars MUST be matched with an increase in public transport. Otherwise, people who (currently) rely on driving to work, or (like Arki below) are moving goods around, will be out of a job.

        Of course, it’s possible that draconian car regulations, without matching public transport, would force people to leave Manila. That might be a very good outcome.

        1. Marius,

          “How does that [less privately-owned vehicles] make life any better for anyone?”

          First, as an environmentalist and my primary concern, the reduction of vehicles (automobiles and motorcycles) will greatly reduce the level of toxic emission in the air that poses as a health threat to the cities’ population, even if it doesn’t completely cure the traffic problems.

          Second, convert these already existing commercial buses into government subsidized transportation–complete with government-employed drivers with a respectable salary and benefits so they won’t have to fight with other drivers to earn their livelihood.

          Third, require carpooling (minimum 5 passengers) and reserve a specific lane for these private vehicles to travel on–and only on specific time of the day and time (weekdays morning and afternoon/all days weekends as long as there is a minimum 5 passengers).

          Limit taxi the number of taxi operating in each zone. This mean they can’t pass their area of operation. This will prevent sporadic traffic congestion in different areas of the metropolis.

          Fifth, do away with jeepneys and tricycle. The drivers of these vehicles are usually unlicensed anyway and not properly trained. Plus, these wayward vehicles are impropertly maintained.

          Sixth, bring back the traditional “kalesa” (horse-drawn carriages) in city roads and streets–even if its use is impractical during rush hours–as a symbol of the country’s effort to clean the environment and simplify life in the country. Plus, it’s a good tourist attraction.

          Lastly, finish the train railway project from Metro Manila to the foot of Baguio that keeps getting stalled and shoved in the backburner. This railway system will reduce the traffic on NLEX. Plan the same railway project for SLEX all the way to the Quezon Province region.

          Aeta

      3. You’ve said it right there.. sidewalks. But not sidewalks for ‘bar-b-que’ stands and other assorted ‘talipapa’. Proper sidewalks might encourage the public to rediscover the art of ‘walking’ once again. Then.. about private car reduction. Do we force these off from roads now and let their owners take public transport, or, do we beef-up public transport first then take these cars off of the roads? Just asking…

    5. I agree with benigno. We have the skyway system and other projects that could double the traffic capacity of the existing roadways without taking up much space. Sales in the automotive industry translates to tax. The goverment, by investing in road projects (skyway projects) would encourage more industries to prosper, more employment, more tax, more roads and other services. As an example, if i am in the parcel industry and it wud take me 4 hrs from manila to cavite, id most likely have reduced number of trips per day, hence, a higher service charge to cope up with my expenses. Higher charge means fewer clients. Fewer clients means fewer services and fewer tax – not good for the economy. If that road time could be reduced to an hour, itl be a different story. Cars isn’t the problem. It’s the amazing ability of politicians to flaunt industry growth without catching up with the consequences. It’s a lack of foresight – a lack of vision.

    6. But if more people are using vehicles then it should be the job of that country’s leaders to help accomodate them. If you reduce the vehicles comming your way instead of finding a way to make it work with them. Then you are basically taking away the transportation of those who ride them. That’s like saying if you have a a bunch of cars that don’t fit your garage you throw them away instead of making a building to store them all. That’s just my two cents

    7. But who makes most of the violations? In Facebook, the most shared pictures of the cause of traffic are public vehicles, the buses. They are the most undisciplined of all. So reduce the more law-abiding drivers from the road and leave more violators?

      1. No, ChinoF, These commercial bus drivers will be replaced by government drivers for government buses. You, if you’re a automobile owner, will have to make sacrifices by being a part of a carpool system to minimize the number of private vehicles on the road. Everybody has to make some sacrifice.

        1. Yeah, but are the sacrifices rightly called out? Is such sacrifice necessary? These supposed “sacrifices” are being called for simply because those who can fix the broken system don’t want to. So other people have to just shut up and bear the sacrifice? No way! This is what you call making Pedro pay for the crimes of Juan.

          And I commute, no car. I hope the bus drivers and their buses don’t stop for a long time at a certain stop, and just move on to the next smoothly and not like they’re in Death Race 2000.

    1. There is such a law, Dick S. O’Rosary. It’s called the Law of Oligarchs that protect wealthy and powerful motorists from all criminal and civil liablities.

      1. My proposed law should be applicable to all motorists, even the humble ones who can only afford an owner jeep. This law must not protect well-to-do jaywalkers. For example, we may catch Abaya jaywalking, so its all right for the guy in the owner jeep to run him over.

  7. “Hire an engineer as head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), not a lawyer.”

    Partly agree. The only problem, these folks become as corrupt as the government they joined in. Case in point is DOTC Sec Abaya; he’s got an impressive educational accomplishments–degree in Engineering from the University of the Philippines and Cornell University (USA), U.S. Naval Academy graduate, and a law degree from Ateneo University. While he may not occupy the chair of MMDA, definitely he’s on top of the food chain of transportation. So far his job performance is abysmal at best, the reason he earned the moniker as “Secretary pAbaya”. Is his ineptness then due to the fact that his brain is now wired as lawyer-politician more than an engineer? I really believe PHL is a basket case!

    1. Baystander,

      What good is the engineer’s advice if the lawyers and politicians are not willing to take his advice, especially if it will dampen their chance of making money?

      Aeta

    2. >> The only problem, these folks become as corrupt as the government they joined in.

      Sad but true. There is an student engineering textbook that actually has a foreword warning students exactly what’s going to happen to them when they get their license: they will go to a government job, where they will be strung along like puppets and told to do all sorts of shameful things.

      I was surprised (for a moment) that the author was even allowed to write this in a university textbook. Then I realised that it doesn’t matter: the oligarchs have such a stranglehold on the country, it doesn’t matter what people think. They will do as they please regardless, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

  8. The government should also require the vehicle owners to have a parking lot for their vehicle/s, if don’t have any then they should rent a parking space instead of parking on the road. IMHO one of the causes of the standstill in EDSA is usually the choke points in which it will lead to a narrow road with parked vehicles, effectively reducing the road’s vehicle capacity.

  9. I have suggestions on how to ease traffic in Metro Manila especially EDSA.

    1. Limit the use of private vehicles. People should utilize the public utility vehicles instead. That waymalaki ang mababawas na load sa alinmang kalye.

    2. To serve the public better and to convince them to leave their vehicles at home, the government must first see to it that the public vehicles are in good working conditions, e.g, MRT, LRT. Bus Owners must also provide comfortable buses and with scheduled time of departures and arrivals.

    3. Traffic enforcers must be tough and true in implementing traffic rules. ,They should let the people know that they are serious in what they are doing. walang palakasan.

    4. The riding public should wait at the proper bus or jeepney terminals. hindi yung nasa gitna ng kalsada nag aabang. Likewise, the buses and jeepneys should not unload and load in the middle of the road. kainis

    5. Why not set a time for riding public according to age. for example, school children take the AM and road at 6:00AM, employees at 7:00AM, elderly at 9:00AM and shoppers at 10:00AM . I observed this system when I was in Japan. nagtataka ako bakit puro senoior citizen kasabay ko sa train yung pala yun ang oras ng labas nila.

  10. Pinoy, pagbibigsiklitahin mo.lol. hindi uubra. First of all, karamihan tamad at maarte at ayaw umitim. Ni maglakad ng konti, ayaw. The INDOLENCE OF FILIPINOS ika nga.

  11. As an engineer, I submit getting rid of BS Aquino and all his appointees. Even without replacements, it would already be a thousand fold improvement on all the country’s problems.

  12. I agree on all the suggestions posted by the blogger as well as the comments. However, I think all those proposals are temporary solutions. We all know for a fact that Metro Manila is congested and this trend will continue whether we like it or not. To fight this battle, I believe the key is to move to a federalism form of state. This way, rural migrants will not flock the metro but rather stay in their hometown as their state Government will have enough financial resources to support their constituents and small businesses. Also, as they have more resources to attract investors they now have the capacity to provide tax exemptions for large corporations, which means more employment opportunities. Provincial salary rate law should also be abolished to encourage people to stay. Therefore, to cut the story short, we should support Duterte’s campaign for federalism. I know, he had announced that he’s not going to run for the Presidential race next year. But I doubt it, I’m sure that’s just his strategy to attract more voters, which in a way, annoyed some netizens.=) But I’m positive that he will reconsider.

  13. develop other places para may mga job opportunities doon para hindi na magpuntahan sa Maynila ang gusto magkatrabaho. Kung pupunta ang nga taga ibang lugar dito sa Maynila, natural lang na tataas ang demand nang mga PUV/PUJ. yung ibang nakakaluwag, bibili pa nang 2 sasakyan para iwas number coding.

    1. “yung ibang nakakaluwag, bibili pa nang 2 sasakyan para iwas number coding.”

      Like I said, the problem in Philippines is there is way way way too much vehicles on the road, with only a handful of personnel to enforce the law.

      Soluton: mandatory reduction of vehicles on the road and more government run buses, trains, MRT/LRT systems.

    2. Sean,

      “develop other places para may mga job opportunities doon para hindi na magpuntahan sa Maynila ang gusto magkatrabaho.”

      The government has “NO FEAR”…ahem, “NO FERA” to make the move.

      Aeta

  14. “MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino: Lawyers belong in courtrooms, not on the road directing traffic.”

    Filipinos are so hung up about titles–“Dr.,” “Atty.,” and “Eng.–as if these titles will give them credibility in unrelated government positions they fill.

    This professional titles are just another evidence that Filipinos have an incurable aristocratic mentalities.

  15. It’s also something to point out… Aquino was the one who initiated the HPG — not Tolentino or Abaya. No, instead the President of the nation had to do the job of those he appointed. Goes to show how bad the leadership is.

  16. To reduce traffic in the metro:
    1. Government should abolish provincial pay rates so that people from the provinces won’t have to move, flock nor commute daily to the metro to work in a better paying job or find a better paying job! The metro can’t accommodate the entire Philippine population. If provincial employees’ finances improve to the point of being able to afford a vehicle, at least that vehicle would operate in the province and not take up space in the metro. Provinces with BPO’s offering Manila pay rates improve at a very past pace with the influx of more purchasing power. Implementing this will fund growth and development in provinces, instead of development focused in Metro Manila alone. Taxi’s, malls, etc. would now start popping up the place.
    2. Proper implementation of the clean air act, this alone should remove all jeeps and most trucks & most buses from the road. They are mostly if not all euro-zero engines, corruption is the only reason they are able to renew their registration year after year. As a bonus you get to clean up the air too on top of the traffic.
    3. Permanently impound all colorum PUJ/PUV, that should reduce car volumes even further. The only reason colorum is not only occurring but thriving; is because they are getting away with the practice most of the time, if not always. So just make it a major loss to the vehicle owner when caught; by impounding permanently at the first offense.
    4. Proper traffic enforcement. Discipline and apprehension of PUJ/PUV must be prioritized as it is their driving behavior that causes traffic jams, not private vehicle drivers. (ayaw umabante kahit green/walang nasa harap, nagbababa/sakay/hinto sa gitna ng daan, hindi tumatabi, lumalabas sa yellow line). May manghuhuli nga, puro private naman ang hinuhuli para kumotong. hindi hinuhuli ang mga jeep at bus kahit nakakatrapik na at nagaganap sa harap ng kanilang mga mata.
    5. Strictly enforce No tricycles and pedicabs in EDSA and major roads. Look at edsa-taft intersection/rotunda area up-to just before Magallanes interchange they are everywhere! This happens lot too elsewhere, just too many to mention.
    6. Strictly enforce No sidewalk vending as these lessens the already scarce walk-space forcing people to start walking and hailing PUVs on the shoulder of the road if not on road itself.
    7. ADD MORE TRAINS IN EXISTING MRT AND LRT LINES. If everybody from the province stays and works in the province, we would not even have to build new lines in the already cramped metro. It would be now feasible for government to build new lines at the provinces as a lesson learned from NCR; to have a planned and effective mass transport system like trains, subways etc. BEFORE SPACE RUNS OUT DUE TO NEW BUILDINGS AND YOUR STREETS GETS OVERRUN BY BUSES/JEEPS TO MOVE PEOPLE ABOUT!
    8. Provincial Bus Terminals/Station Must not be inside Metro Manila but on the out-skirts of the same only and Provincial buses may never enter the metro proper beyond the Provincial Bus Terminals/Station. People going in and out the metro must not impede the movement of people travelling within the metro.
    9. Now you have enough space to fix roads full of pot-holes, faulty sewerage system causing floods, widen roads and widen sidewalks.

    Nine simple suggestions the government is dumb enough not to have thought off, well maybe they have and there is just no profit in it for government officials and employees to implement the same. I love the Philippines but I weep for my up country and pity myself for being born a citizen of the same. If we all had a free choice of citizenship nobody would remain to be a citizen of the Philippines. I would gladly work and pay taxes elsewhere. Taxes are not only exorbitant in the Philippines but it all goes to line the pockets of the ones in power/position.

  17. Kulang yun 5. If you really want to solve the problem, first you have got to have political will. We all know that the solutions would hit most Filipinos hard but it is necessary to make some changes.

    Some short term solutions:

    – Overhaul our transport system. Do so by re-evaluating routes of buses and jeepneys. Keep tricycles inside subdivisions. Replace jeepneys with buses since they can carry more people. Apply only one bus line in EDSA, from Monumento to MOA vice versa. C5 should have buses also from Commonwealth to SLEX and use those extra long buses here and in EDSA. Arterial roads such as Buendia, Shaw, Aurora, Quezon Blvd etc should also be lined with buses. And these buses should be the low profile ones (similar to Green Frog) so that ingress and egress is easy and quick.

    – Clear up the streets of illegal parking and obstructions.

    – Identify chokepoints and always manage them properly. No parking should be done there and any obstruction is removed immediately. One chokepoint comes to mind is EDSA in front of ADB. If you have some HPG or MMDA units parked there, definitely traffic will build up. They should also close that exit coming from SM Megamall.

    – Study the road system and see what streets could be made one way and what intersections can be closed to make the traffic move more smoothly.

    – Fix C6! Its getting worse everyday. Potholes are so big that they slow down travel time and is a danger to all motorist.

    Other long term solution are:

    – Move factories away from the city.

    – Build new bridges crossing the Pasig and Marikina rivers.

    – Eliminate floods by create water basins / cathedrals to store the rain water should a sudden downpour occur.

    – Build an effective inter city subway system.

    – Build tunnels and railways all going out to the city. Manila is too crowded already and everything is going vertical with more condos being built. That means more residents inside the city. If you build going out of the city then growth will spread across a larger area.

    Having an effective transport system will reduce the need of cars and FX/UV express, which in turn will improve traffic. People buy cars because of the lack of it.

    However, if there is no political will, this traffic problem is here to stay.

    1. Mr/Ms quarantine pointed out the most important thing that is lacking nowadays from our leaders.

      Political Will

      So far only 1 name had crossed my mind who has the political will to impose the law and changes when he was the MMDA chief.

      Bayani Fernando

      You can tell the difference between the performances of MMDA then and now.

  18. There’s just far too many people in Metro Manila. The real cause of this is our very unitary system of government. Everything (read: everything) is too centralized in Metro Manila. Taxes and budgeting are far too centralized and Metro Manila always gets the biggest chunk of the budget. 40 years ago, the Metro Manila population was only 10% of the country’s population, now, the (daytime) population of Metro Manila is almost 20% of the nation’s population. Of course, people go where the money is. Solution: change the system, decentralize the government (federalism maybe), decentralize fiscal management, promote and incentivize investments to the countryside. Decongest Metro Manila. All other solutions are just band-aid, short term fixes.

    1. MNLFoodcritic. You can’t de-centralize the government because these politicians all want to be close to, or on top, of the food chain. Trying to decentralize the government is like telling these oligarch that they’re on ration from this day foward.

  19. Sa kasamaaang palad lahat ng permanenteng solusyon na kailangan ay nag rerequire napakahabang panahon para sa implimentasyon. Ang bagong LRT line siguro kakain ng 3-5 taon depende sa haba. Ang pag lalagay ng mga permanent provincial terminals sa labas ng metro manila siguro isang taon pinaka mabilis. Flyovers, underground subway system and even imposing discipline to drivers will take years to take effect. Ang kailangan ngayon odd-even scheme. If you minimize the number of private vehicles by half dun tayo may mararamdamang pagbabago. For wheelers here will surely disagree. Simple analogy, gaano kahaba in terms of length ang 50 kotse na may isang sakay compared to a single bus that has 50 passengers on board? 100 thousand cars witn one passenger is only 2,000 buses of 50s.just imagine gaano ang ibabawas nun sa traffic? Bakit ba pangit ang bus system sa metro manila? Unang una traffic na talaga, pangalawa, onti pasahero dami ng bus (minsan ang dami ng tao onti bus dahil sa traffic) , sa huli ang tagal ng byahe. Kung yung 100k na drivers ng kotse nag commute. Una luluwag ang traffic, dadami pasahero (di na kelangan tumambay sa intersection) and bibilis ang byahe. So in short the main cause of traffic here in metro manila is not the jeeps, the buses or even the tricycles but actually the privage vehicles.

  20. Surely, Ilda’s suggestions, given the qualifications of these government officials and the skills of the people that surrounds them, they already thought of it and I may even concede that they know more and have better ideas. I just wonder why they are not implementing it. They always seem to choose band-aid solutions and wouldn’t even touch a long-term approach. Thus, I ask the question “Is there anyone benefiting or enjoying from our misery?”

    Regarding if politics is affecting efforts to solve the traffic problem, here is what some people say:

    (About the procurement of materials to improve the rail system):

    “Like you want to raise funding here, for the candidacy for some presidents so you delay it; ‘dribble’ the ball; the tendering becomes very complicated; you lengthen it until you find a way to squeeze money somewhere” – Rene Santiago, a Transportation Consultant, in a CNN Philippines interview

    (About tricycle drivers that contributes to the problem):

    “Gaya ng mga konsehal, tingin nila dyan ‘boto’…” – RJ Javellana, Union of Filipino Consumers and Commuters, from the same CNN report above.

    Possible lesson learned: Our officials does not really want to solve it until it will work to their advantage first and will deliberately delay it to ensure their gain. Whatever we say here, no matter how useful, will only fall on deaf ears until they get something from it.

    The problem about traffic is not anymore because there aren’t any solutions to it but rather it’s because those that we expect and pay for to solve it does not really want to do anything long-term about it.

    Am I wrong with what I deduced? I would welcome an intelligent response especially from the DOTC, the MMDA or the Office of the President.

  21. I like this topic & I would like to share this one to everyone. If Duterte didn’t backed out for running on presidential race by next year, he’ll do this on the 1st year of his presidency just like what he’d done in Davao City.

  22. BS Aquino and his YellowTard minions can talk good and shower down roses, but it’s the Failipinos that has to walk through the thorns, and all its false expectations.

  23. TL;DR: If the metropolitan public transport be improved in quantity and quality, then people who own cars will be enticed to take the former. This could mean fewer vehicles on road, thus lighter traffic. This I agree with wholeheartedly.

    However, another main problem with is that economic activity is heavily concentrated in Metro Manila. I doubt PNoy can address this issue, but a long term regional, and even national, planning is imperative. Less developed areas can be opportunities to create economic improvement and learn from the mistakes of the metropolis.

  24. The Traffic System is broken. The Traffic problem has been there since I was in college, in the Philippines. Presidents come and go; and it remained unsolved.

    Aquino, Abaya, Roxas, Tolentino, etc…are trying to implement a “Band Aid Solution” to a very serious traffic problem. They cannot solve and will never solve the traffic problem. It is because, they have no mental capabilities; and mental caliber to do so.

  25. eto sakin, jeepneys need to drive around barangays only from and to adjacent barangay. if a commuter needs to go to a mall from his/her barangay then there’s a bus outside the barangay (scheduled). roads will be used by private vehicles only while buses have their own road. but looking at the infrastructure of NCR and most cities, masyadong diki-dikit na, ung mga establishment nasa mismong side streets na kaya pag may lalabas na sasakyan ung mga sasakyan napapahinto rin so there’s a delay. it’s time to create underground roads or teleportation na lang from your house to your destination. lol!

    P.S: my nerdy,socially awkward officemate said that it requires mathematical equation to solve the traffic problem of metro manila. everybody laughed. but to me, i think he’s right.

  26. all those private vehicles dropping off and picking up students at exclusive schools in metro manila also adds to the traffic problem…say la salle in greenhills and ateneo..why don’t they just put up drop off points outside of the city, have buses ferry them students to school and back? or build parking lots at MRT/LRT stations like Santolan in the east, Baclaran in the south, Monumento in the north, where private vehicle owners can leave their car, take the MRT/LRT to their destinations thus lessening number of cars driving in to the city… but of course, you have to fix the MRT/LRT system first…somebody for sure has already thought about this but why it has not been even tried, i’d like to know..

  27. One way to decongest Metro Manila traffic is to kill off BS Aquino and imprison all of his best of friends minions whose currently having a dinner over the pork barrel. Get it, pork and barrel? Okay, joking aside.

  28. Kailangan talaga nang TOTAL redesign yang EDSA na yan. Walang Traffic light dapat. Lahat ng intersection dadaan sa ilalim ng EDSA. Wala ring U-turn Slot na magpapabagal ng daan. MAIN Highway po yan ng Metro Manila. So wala dapat sagabal sa daan. Ang rule dapat sa EDSA is: NO LOADING/UNLOADING. NO STOPPING NO PARKING ANYWHERE ALONG EDSA.

  29. at nga pala. Yung MRT dapat gawin nang Double Deck yung rails. Meaning TWO railroad on TOP of another. The TOP railroad will have high speed high fare trains stopping only on selected stops. The BOTTOM railroad will have low speed low fare trains stopping on all stops. and Lastly eliminate Local BUS on EDSA. Provincial BUSES will be only allowed to unload passengers on selected DROPZONES ONLY. Yan ang DESIGN na dapat sa EDSA.

  30. Ako po ay isang Engineer. Noon ko pang pinag isipan yan. Ginagawa nilang complex ang road sa EDSA pwede namang simple lang. The more simple the design the more efficient the road is and requires less manpower needed to manage it. Mataas na ang volume ng mga vehicles na dumadaan sa EDSA so it needs to be made more simple and efficient.

    1. @Alexander Wilcosach,

      Engineers and architects, kayo talaga dapat umaariba sa usaping infrastructure and city planning. Unfortunately, your knowledge and voices are deadened by politicians noises, by their dismal ideas. Glad to see you and more from engineering sector speaking up. There are lots of work to be done in the country, right? At kayang-kaya naman iyon ng grupo ng mga inhinyerong Filipino hindi ba, ayaw lang ipasa sa inyo ang trabaho at oportunidad?

  31. Ilda’s Uber-Excellent Article Plus Manila Traffic Seen From A Vantage Point

    No traffic solution discussed or devised by authorities will ever work on the long term in the Philippines. Key words here are long term. Even if we magically managed to double, triple or quadruple our road space. Of that I am certain. Not in our lifetime anyway, although we have to keep trying out the well-intentioned suggestions and delude ourselves (for our sanity’s sake) that somehow something MIGHT work. We’re well on our way to (successfully) converting our roads into parking lots. Widening or creating new roads and bridges, putting the HPG in EDSA, building or expanding the mass transport system, fighting corruption, removing the jeepneys, limiting the number of cars, staggered work hours etc. are all Band-Aid measures to ease traffIc somewhat and temporarily (key word – temporarily). Down the road (pun intended), even if we do these things now, our children and children’s children will EVENTUALLY suffer the same fate we do now. And that is because we are a people who so completely lack the basic ingredient that underpins successful traffic management programs anywhere in the world.

    One doesn’t “urge” pedestrians to stay on the sidewalk so as not to limit the flow of vehicles–you arrest and fine them. Pedestrians who occupy a road lane (or two), should be fined heavily (see News about Taft Ave in Pasay). One doesn’t “whistle” buses to go back to their lane, you arrest and heavily fine the bus driver (or better, heavily fine the bus line operators too for hiring stupid, criminally-minded and reckless drivers). One doesn’t allow vehicle drivers, including and especially motorcyclists, to rudely occupy pedestrian lanes and block people from safely and quickly crossing the street. You arrest and fine them. While on motorcyclists — arrogantly weaving thru cars and jumping the line (even using the sidewalk) to go in front of others who are already in the lane only pushes back other vehicles and initiates the ‘accordion effect’ — effectively making traffic worse. They think that they are ‘decongesting’ the road when they do that. It is a blatant ‘in-your-face’ stealing of the time and effort of others who leave their houses early. Ditto with those who block the ‘straight thru’ lane by going in front of those making a left turn. Or those who do not understand the alternate rule of proceeding in lanes that bottleneck. Or that one is supposed to drive between lane lines, not on the line. One doesn’t allow vendors to ply their trade in the sidewalks. And certainly not in the roads during rush hour.

    You institutionalize the ‘correct’ behavior by force and making it really, really unpleasant for those who violate the rules of the road. Madadala yan if you consistently hurt their wallets. While at it, MMDA shouldn’t hire so-called ‘enforcers’ who can’t see that filling up the yellow box at intersections with vehicles before signaling the opposite lane to ‘GO’ is really the most effective way of making them ‘STOP’. All of the above are not simply behaviors that are ‘in-response-to’ or reactions to the environment. They are displays of ignorance and stupidity. And sadly, these are now ingrained habits in our culture as well (with apologies to Webster for its definition of culture). Which is why traffic will continue to persist even if we did all the suggested solutions.

    Up until people’s brains are ‘wired’ to understand the need for and follow the rules, (which should be learned from childhood), there will be no traffic solution that will work here or for that matter, any city in the world. We see harassed mothers and yayas tugging children to jaywalk to go to schools. Like any mammal, children observe the adults and will ‘wire’ their minds that all of the scenes cited above are the ‘CORRECT’ behavior they will do as adults. Cities and nations that have ‘wired’ the majority of their population (it doesn’t even have to be everyone) to follow the rules are the ones that ‘RULE’. The uber-quick economic rise of Japan, Germany and Singapore after a devastating WW II was not a fluke. They are classic examples of what a disciplined people is capable of doing. The rest who do not have these traits remain basket weavers and sufferers of insufferable, perennial city traffic.

    My hope is that we start educating the young on habits and behaviors that are necessary for communities and urban areas to function. Teach them the value of falling in line. Teach them empathy, of putting themselves in the shoes of another. Teach them to call out and be angry at those who do not follow the rules. That is how ‘a community’, ‘a sense of country’, ‘an all-together-now’ and the most necessary of all ingredients in urban living—DISCIPLINE—are ingrained –‘wired’— into the minds of the population of the future. You can’t legislate, cajole, urge and encourage a people to do the behavior you want and expect it to work. That approach will fail (except maybe in places like China, where the threat of incarceration for a long time or a bullet at the back of the head is very real). One can’t conjure discipline. It is worked on steadily by adults to their children from a very young age. It is the formula for success of nations that have evolved. While undoubtedly and admittedly not the only one, it is the long-term solution that should underpin all our traffic management strategies.

    If we fail to do that now, I am willing to bet that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be doomed to endure the very stressful kind of life we experience every single day in this city of ours. Even if we have mass transport systems, a thousand HPGs and a 12-lane, 5-level Skyway in EDSA by then. I wouldn’t bet after my great-grandchildren because the rising sea level would have swallowed this country by then and FINALLY, no more traffic.

    1. When looking to people to hit n the wallet you should include the sidewalk vendors who make it impossible for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalks. The various mayors of Metro Manila and the full of crap lawyer in charge of the MMDA make random changes that do nothing but complicate the situation. What they need to do is hire some of the street people sleeping on bridges and walkovers, get some garbage trucks and make a sudden sweep of all MM city streets and put all the gear and stock of every vendor with crap on the sidewalks into the trucks. Take the trucks to some incinerating device and destroy all that stuff. It won’t take long before vendors leave the sidewalks free for pedestrians.

      While those street sleepers are out working, other workers could go clean and sweep the walkovers and other street sleeping places. Some of those places are dirty, smelly and downright dangerous because of all the thieves and beggars residing where people are supposed to walk.

      The next day would be the time to remove the trees, poles and other things placed in the middle of sidewalks.

  32. The list of probable solutions to decongest the traffic is so idealistic. But we must take into consideration that the effectiveness of whatever solution there would be is the cooperation of the Filipinos.

  33. Any elected politician or appointed civil servant regardless if they are lawyers or engineers are subject to corruption.

    solution: take the power back

  34. First thing to do is to enlarge prison buildings or find an isolated island in the Philippines and build a huge prison. Put all the traffic violators there, especially those drivers who got a pedestrian killed and then reasoned “nawalan nang break”.

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