By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS
President Duterte revealed he has approached neighboring Asian countries about the “horrendous” traffic situation in the metropolis.
In a recent speech in Clark, Pampanga, Duterte admitted, “We are living a horrendous life. Unless relief can come somewhere else, we are stuck with it.”
He added, “Ang kulang lang natin is the infrastructure for mobility. But in due time, I think in the fullness of God’s time, we will have it.”
Referring to infrastructure already pledged by Japan and China, “I hope it would come, even half of what they have offered so far.”
According to Duterte, he opted to approach these countries because government cannot solve the problem on its own.
“I went to China, started to move around and then to Japan and Korea, ‘yan ang ginawa ko. Pero kung sabihin mo na mag-asa pa ako sa tayo-tayo, mahirap,” he said.
“We will continue to suffer until such time that Japan or China, whoever gets there first to build the [infrastructures] – and if we have the financing, then we can move,” he added.
According to Duterte, improving infrastructure, including the expansion of highwaysis among solutions to the traffic problem.
“But I think the most practical thing to do is really [improve] the mass transport system. And many are willing. It’s only a matter of the grid,” he said.
Meanwhile, Duterte said he is looking into moving industries in other key cities in the country to ease crowding in Metro Manila.
“Manila, I think, will be, in about 25 years, will be a dead city. It will start to decay and there is no way that we can rehab the place,” he said.
According to the President, the only way to save the metropolis is to start from scratch.
“You cannot rehabilitate the place. You have to – baklasin mo ang Maynila to do that, and there’s no more time and space for all of you who want to do something about it,” Duterte said.
“You have to disperse the crowd, limit the factories at some time in the future. But about 10 years from now, they should close Manila and start to develop [other cities],” he added, referring to other areas such as Clark, Pampanga.
In a bid to decongest the metropolis and create alternative hubs, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) relocated its main office from Mandaluyong to Clark, Pampanga early this year.
According to the DOTr, the move is aimed to help decongest traffic in Metro Manila and boost development in “the peripheries of the National Capital Region.”
Bases Conversion and Development Authority president Vince Dizon earlier said more government agencies will follow the move of the DOTr.
“Slowly we will be moving key government offices from Metro Manila to Clark,” Dizon said last April.