Palace asks commuters to be patient amid implementation of yellow lane policy in EDSA

Published August 8, 2019, 5:50 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang asked the commuting public to remain patient, saying the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is doing its best to address Metro Manila’s traffic woes.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after angry commuters bombarded MMDA’s Twitter account with complaints about the yellow lane policy which seemed to worsen the traffic situation in EDSA.

In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo agreed that the traffic in EDSA has indeed worsened, saying even he had to endure two hours to travel from one place in Makati to the Singapore Embassy.

He, however, raised that the rainy season may have also contributed to the problem.

“I think even the rainy season has contributed to the density of traffic,” he said.

“MMDA is doing its level best to do something about it,” he added.

The Palace official then asked the public to be patient amid efforts to resolve the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila.

“Well, we have to ask the commuters to be patient. I’m sure the MMDA is doing enough,” Panelo said.

He also reiterated that one way to resolve the traffic in EDSA is by having more infrastructures.

“But actually, you know the problem in EDSA… I think we need skyways for that. If you have a lot of skyways, I don’t think there will be traffic. We need infrastructure,” he said.

In his fourth State of the Nation (SONA) last month, President Duterte ordered the MMDA and local chief executives to reclaim all public roads being used for private ends.

Duterte also instructed Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to make sure that the Metro Manila mayors follow his order.

“I reiterate my directive, my request, my pleadings, to the MMDA and all concerned local officials in Metro Manila and other cities to undertake immediate action to ensure the speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic,” he said.

“Reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends. Marami diyan (There are lots of them). And again, I ask Secretary Año to see to it that it is enforced,” he added.

The President also gave Año the authority to suspend local chief executives if they would not comply with the order.

“If there is a mayor or a governor or kung ano kang, sino kang demonyo ka, i-suspend mo Sir Año (or whoever the hell you are, suspend them, Secretary Año),” Duterte said.

“Give him time and if he cannot, if he is not up to it, then papahingahin mo na lang. Suspend mo na. Wala tayong magawa (just suspend them for there’s nothing we can do about that). They just keep on pleasing their own constituents because there is a constituent, a leader. Ganoon kayo, eh (That’s how you are),” he added.

According to the President, the country loses P3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

In June, Duterte vowed that commuters and motorists will only have to travel for five minutes when going to Makati from Cubao by December this year.

President Duterte has rejected being given emergency powers to resolve the worsening traffic in EDSA after hearing reports that this may only lead to corruption.

According to Duterte, he would rather let EDSA stay the way it is than being tagged in corruption.

“In Congress, Grace Poe made a comment. She said: ‘That amount of money is just too big. We might lose all that money to corruption.’ So when I heard it — we don’t know each other that well — I told the Congress: ‘Never mind. I will not ask for money anymore, forget it,” he said in May this year.

According to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, it is up to Congress if they will grant President Duterte emergency powers to resolve Metro Manila’s traffic woes.

“Congress knows what the problem is so it should know what to do to respond to a situation,” he said.

“After all they are there, just like the President, to serve the Filipino people. And that includes putting the riding public in a convenient situation,” he added.