Duterte announces imminent completion of infra projects to decongest EDSA

Published March 11, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

Motorists and commuters can expect a lighter traffic flow along EDSA by December, President Duterte declared last Tuesday amid the imminent completion of some vital public infrastructure projects.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the 2020 League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) General Assembly at the Marriot Hotel in Pasay City on March 10, 2020. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the 2020 League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) General Assembly at the Marriot Hotel in Pasay City on March 10, 2020. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The Present said road projects such as the Metro Manila Skyway-Stage 3 project would help ease the traffic congestion along the major thoroughfare in Metro Manila.

“Maganda na ang daan natin (We have better roads). You wait until December. You would have ano — a more light traffic sa EDSA. Tapos na eh. ‘Yung connectors na lang. Matatapos ‘yan (It’s compete. The connections will soon be completed),” he said at the assembly of the country’s mayors in Pasay City Tuesday.

“We have been able fairly to complete some of those which counter the most. Ang isa nito (One of these), without really being inordinately proud, ay ‘yung (is the) Skyway. At kung matapos ito (If this will be completed), this will greatly improve the traffic of the Metro Manila area,” he added.

Duterte, however, refused to take credit for the major infrastructure projects that seek to improve the country’s transportation network, saying he was just continuing some programs of past administrations.

Duterte, who will end his six-year term on 2022, said he could even give credit to his predecessors for these projects.

“I must admit that these projects are not mine alone. Some were started during my predecessors’ days but completed during my term. Pero para sa akin okay na ‘yon (But for me, that’s okay),” he said. “I can give the credit to them for I never started it. And just finishing it is no big deal for anyone.”

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar earlier announced that EDSA congestion will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent in the second half of the year, allowing faster mobility of people and goods.

He said 0the Metro Manila Skyway-Stage 3 project and the North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link R-10 Exit Ramp are expected to be delivered this year to help improve traffic flow in Metro Manila. The two road projects are included in the P384-billion EDSA decongestion program of the Duterte administration.

Emergency powers blocked by ‘bright’ senator

The President, meantime, railed against a “bright” senator for allegedly blocking his request for emergency powers from Congress to address the traffic situation.

He said the emergency powers could have empowered the government to acquire project materials, labor, and experts needed for vital infrastructure projects without passing the bidding process. The senator, however, suspected that the emergency powers could be prone to corruption, Duterte lamented.

“Mamadalian na eh because there’s a crisis. Alam mo may isang magandang senadora na bright masyado nagsabi, “Ah hindi ‘yan. Sa kalaking pera niyan baka ma-corrupt ‘yan.” Eh ako ditong nakikinig, hindi naman niya ako kilala, pero alam niya na tinulungan ko siya noon sa eleksyon niya (We were supposed to hasten the project because there’s a crisis. You know there’s a beautiful and bright senator who said, ‘No. That huge amount money might be lost to corruption.’ I was listening, the person doesn’t know me, but I helped her during the elections),” he said.

Faced with such suspicion from the senator, Duterte said he decided to abandon his request for emergency powers and “let EDSA rot.” The government instead pursued other measures to improve the traffic situation, he said.

“What did I say about EDSA? ‘Let EDSA rot.’ Bahala kayo diyan,” he said.

Duterte said he would “name the lady” at the proper time.

“It is because of your lack of faith in your fellowmen. And when you begin to think that you are the only honest official of the land by this year,” he said.

“Anong ipinagmamalaki mo? (What are you proud of?) Expertise in politics? Why are you there? Is that the only credi…? Because of your name, you have a name also? You cannot have your own?”

He did not identify the official but had previously criticized Sen. Grace Poe to “control her mouth” since she was “not holier than thou.” Poe earlier said Duterte could ease traffic in Metro Manila without seeking emergency powers from Congress.