President Duterte claimed that the dreaded traffic gridlock in EDSA was not a thing of the past as his administration has already solved the problem.
Duterte made the statement during his interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on SMNI on Tuesday.
During the interview, the President boasted that the traffic congestion along the major Metro Manila thoroughfare has been eradicated.
He, however, recalled that it was not easy achieving the task.
“Ang traffic ngayon sa EDSA maluwang na, okay (The EDSA traffic is no longer congested). But early on sa administration ko (in my administration), it was a crisis there,” Duterte told Quiboloy.
“Ang mga advice nila, ‘yong mga bright boy ko, sabi nila, ‘Maghiram tayo ng pera. We can maybe adopt a — an MRT or somewhere paakyat, pero basta we need money.’ (My bright boys advised maybe we can borrow money, maybe build an MRT or somewhere going up. But we need money),” he added.
The President earlier revealed he would “let EDSA rot” after Senator Grace Poe raised concern that the funds to decongest EDSA may go to corruption.
“Sabi ko noong narinig ko, sabi ko, eh bago ako, ah sabi ko, ‘Huwag na lang kung ganoon. So hayaan mo.’ (When I heard that, I was new in the position back then, I said, ‘Then let it be.’),” he said.
However, he said addressing the situation was still his responsibility.
“It behooves upon me now really to find out itong solution kung papaano. Now ito ngayong sa taas, ito na lang ang binuhos ko ‘yong ano mga grant-grant, doon ko binuhos ‘yong pera (a solution for this problem. Now this one at the top, I poured all money in here),” Duterte said, referring to the 18-kilometer Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project.
“O ‘di ngayon maluwang na ang traffic ng Maynila (Now the traffic is clear in Manila). If you go to Cubao-airport, it’s about 15 minutes,” he added.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project that links the northern and southern portion of Metro Manila was completed in October 2020 and opened in January 2021.
The project was approved in September 2013 under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
In 2019, President Duterte ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local chief executives to reclaim all public roads being used for private ends in a bid to address the worsening traffic in the National Capital Region.
“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.