Some Filipinos countered recent claims that the infamous traffic congestion along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue was supposedly eradicated with their own and others’ reported experiences.
President Rodrigo Duterte in an interview with a pastor on SMNI News claimed that EDSA now has a smooth vehicular flow and admitted that it was a “crisis” during his early years as a chief executive.
“Ang traffic ngayon sa EDSA maluwang na, okay. But early on sa administration ko, it was a crisis there,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday night.
“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,” Duterte added, referring to the 18-kilometer Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project.
“O ‘di ngayon, maluwang na ang traffic ng Maynila. If you go to Cubao-Airport, it’s about 15 minutes,” he said.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project links the northern and southern part of the National Capital Region through an elevated expressway that reduces travel time and bypasses EDSA and C5.
The project broke ground in January 2014 during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III through his public-private partnership program.
Citra Central Expressway Corp. and San Miguel Corp. were the ones who invested in the infrastructure.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project was completed in October 2020 and was opened to motorists in January this year.
Meanwhile, travelers disagreed with Duterte’s claims and shared their recent experiences while traversing EDSA.
“Ma-traffic na ngayon sa umaga at hapon. Pandemya pa ito ha,” a Reddit user claimed in response to his remarks.
“Dami private vehicles e. ‘Pag bus ka, tuloy tuloy,” claimed another online user from the discussion website.
“Shoutout sa malubhang traffic sa Buendia off ramp, Guadalupe, Shaw Underpass, Cubao Overpass, Kamuning Overpass araw-araw. Northbound pa lang ‘to,” a different Filipino likewise reported.
“Duterte can lie bare face. Traffic problem in EDSA has not been fixed. The situation has become easier only for those in private vehicles but has become even more miserable for the commuters because of inconvenient and limited public transport. Ask commuters from the suburbs,” a social media user on Twitter alleged.
Another Twitter user shared a screengrab of his conversation with his partner who traversed EDSA on Wednesday morning.
— King | He, him, his (@kikuchileo) June 9, 2021
There were others who argued that there is still a prevailing pandemic which means limited movement of the population.
“We have an ongoing pandemic and a good percentage of people are working from home with schools closed,” another Twitter user said in response to Duterte’s claims.
“Let’s be clear, hindi ‘yun dahil sa’yo, dahil sa pandemic ‘yan, increase of joblessness, walang pasok na estudyante, mga WFH (work-from-home).. etc. So yeah, maluwag na nga EDSA,” commented another online user.
After the opening of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project, the Metro Manila Development Authority likened the vehicular flow in EDSA to the traffic situation during holidays.
During non-working or special non-working holidays, EDSA is usually not that congested compared to workweek days.
“Medyo hindi na masakit ang ulo namin, no? Nabawsan na ‘yung sakit ng ulo, no. Kasi nga before ‘yan, talagang grabe. Talagang bumper to bumper. Pero lahat ngayon, running siya,” MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said to GMA’s “24 Oras” before.
“Ngayon, pagdating ng 10 a.m., 11, 12, 1, 2, 3 p.m., aba parang holiday, parang linggo, ‘di ba? Uma-average na ata tayo ngayon ng 20 to 30 kilometers per hour. So talagang drastic ‘yung pagbabago,” he added.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Garcia said that vehicles only traveled at an average speed of seven to 12 kilometers per hour on EDSA.