Duterte says Manila traffic ‘will kill you’, but is delighted that EDSA now slightly decongested

Published February 24, 2021, 1:06 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Decongesting EDSA is possible, as far as President Duterte is concerned.


The President admitted Tuesday that traffic conditions in Metro Manila “will kill you”, but welcomed reports about the easing of congestion on EDSA, the busiest major thoroughfare in the metropolis.

The improved traffic condition along EDSA was observed by the President when he asked Cabinet members to go to storm-hit places or their representatives instead of asking local officials to travel to Manila to follow up on relief aid. His remarks were made during the situation briefing in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur on the extent of damage left by tropical storm Auring.

“Ganito na lang, send your representatives here. Do not ask them to go to Manila because it’s quite… Even if you have the money, the traffic will kill you,” Duterte said in his taped remarks aired on state television Tuesday, Feb. 23.

“Pero sabagay ngayon, Gov, okay naman. Medyo maluwang na raw ang… I am not — I have not been there sa EDSA pero maluwang na raw (But right now after all, Gov, it’s okay. It is has slightly decongested. I have not been there in EDSA but it has been decongested),” he added.

In the same remarks, the President cited the construction of the new Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 that has helped decongest EDSA. He likewise commended the work of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar in completing the new road project.

Authorities earlier said the elevated toll road, inaugurated last month, has reduced travel time between South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to 30 minutes from the two hours. The 18-kilometer elevated expressway connects Buendia, Makati City to the NLEX in Balintawak, Quezon City.

“Dito naman sa daan, if you happen to be in Manila lately, talagang ang Skyway ni Villar, talagang maganda na (On the roads, if you happen to be in Manila lately, Skyway of Villar is really good),” the President said.

In 2019, the President railed against senators for allegedly blocking his request for emergency powers from Congress to address the traffic situation. He abandoned such a request, and decided to just “let EDSA rot.” 

He previously claimed that travel between Cubao to Makati could be reduced to five minutes amid the government’s ongoing transport infrastructure projects. The EDSA decongestion program involves the construction and rehabilitation of 13 roads/expressways and 10 bridges to provide alternate links between major roads, and increase the number of usable roads.