MANILA (Mabuhay) — Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday blamed the traffic problem in Metro Manila on the government’s National Capital Region-centric policy as he pushed for massive infusion of resources and infrastructure funds to other regions.
Cayetano said the government should initiate the development of provinces now to allow them to grow and create opportunities for their residents.
“The answer given to us when we ask for solutions to solve congestion in Metro Manila is to build, build, and build; more, more, and more,” he said in a press statement.
“That is what makes it ridiculous. If you have a house na punong-puno na, ang tama bang sagot ay hatiin ang kwarto? Hindi ba ang solusyon is to buy another house o palakihin mo ang lote mo?” he added.
Cayetano said while billions of pesos are being lost due to traffic in the National Capital Region every day, other regions in the country continue to experience slow development.
“There are 19,137 Filipinos per square kilometer in Metro Manila. Ganoon kadami ang tao dito. Ang pinakamalapit na bilang ay sa Calabarzon, which only has 758 people per sq.km. The rest, ang average is around 300 per sq.km. Karamihan nasa Metro Manila na,” he said.
“The solution to decongesting Metro Manila ay hindi ang pinapakita sa telebisyon na mga bagong kalye, bagong Skyway. Hindi ‘yun ang solusyon. Lalo lang sisikip ang NCR. Ang solusyon ay gawin ang mga projects na ‘yan sa labas ng Metro Manila,” Cayetano added.
He said that based on the data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI), around 230,000 to 250,000 vehicles will be purchased in the country next year, 58 percent of which will be filling up the already-congested streets of Metro Manila.
“100,000 new cars entered this year in Metro Manila. Add the 100,00 next year, for a total of 2.2 million vehicles in Metro Manila every year na gumagala, kaya traffic,” he said.
He added that this shows it is not the provincial buses that cause traffic in Metro Manila.
“Hindi dahil sa [provincial] buses kung hindi sa dami ng sasakyan. So how would we get inclusive growth? Bakit kasi sa Metro Manila lang (ang pinapaunlad)?” he said.
Cayetano said that a more feasible solution to decongest NCR is to allot more funds for infrastructure programs in other regions to encourage people to consider moving and looking for employment opportunities outside the capital.
He said that many Filipino families are robbed of opportunities because the biggest chunk of the national budget pie is allocated to NCR.
The senator said in 2013 alone, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved P184.2 billion worth of 10 major infrastructure projects, eight of which are located in NCR.
He said the two other projects are the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project worth P24.4 billion and Mactan Cebu International Airport Expansion at P17.5 billion.
Cayetano said this stressed the need for government to promote a more inclusive economic plan that will allow the implementation of a specific economic strategy for each of the 17 regions.
“There is no one cure, there is no one-size-fits-all. Kapag nag-economic planning tayo, dapat may national vision; may coherent policy. Pero dapat may 17 regional strategies kung saan ang bawat region ay may strategy at mabibigyan ng pera,” he said. (MNS)