Traffic congestion here in the Metro is back at pre-pandemic levels. In fact, to slightly ease the traffic congestion, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and various mall operators have recently agreed on an 11-to-11 mall operating hours scheme.
But that’s not enough and the government has outlined a 5-year action plan to improve NCR’s worsening congestion.
Last week, the MMDA, together with the 17 local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila, and national agencies responsible for managing traffic in the metropolis, committed to working together to implement an action plan to ease congestion in Metro Manila, the country’s economic and business center.
During the last Joint Coordination Committee Meeting for the JICA-funded “The Project for Comprehensive Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) for Metro Manila,” MMDA’s Acting Chairman, Atty. Romando Artes said that Metro Manila’s vast economic opportunities draw more and more visitors, and this has led to an increase in traffic congestion. “As the project ends, the next step is to implement the plan. Continuous coordination, role-sharing, funding, monitoring, and evaluation—these are critical matters that must be addressed,” he added.
The approved action plan covers 12 strategies to address traffic management issues in Metro Manila, the most urgent of which is to complete the improvement of the 42 traffic bottlenecks the CTMP Project has identified and the signal systems. The strategies that traffic management agencies need to start immediately are to further improve traffic corridors; enhance the intelligent transportation system (ITS); strengthen traffic regulations, enforcement, and road safety; promote active transportation, and develop a comprehensive traffic management database.
The action plan also recommends formulating comprehensive traffic management plans by LGUs, strengthening the transportation network in Metro Manila, as well as strengthening MMDA's planning capacities in traffic management and its coordination with and among related organizations.
MMDA’s Acting General Manager, Engr. Baltazar Melgar stressed that “a concerted action is needed to address the traffic problem, which requires involvement, participation, and dedication.” Together with the 12 strategies are 10 projects which are expected to achieve the action plan’s overall vision of inclusive and people-oriented mobility.
Meanwhile, Takema Sakamoto, JICA Philippines’s chief representative, expressed their commitment to support the Philippine government’s efforts in addressing traffic congestion by offering to share Japan’s experiences in traffic management, particularly in ITS, and in private-public partnerships.
"No one can resolve the chronic traffic jam in Metro Manila alone, but if we all work together, we are optimistic that there is hope for improving the traffic situation. If we strongly bond together, we can achieve continuous economic growth and attain the quality of life for every Filipino," Sakamoto added.
The meeting was immediately followed by a workshop to discuss the commitment of each agency and their ideas on how to implement the action plan.