Amid holiday traffic, Pinoys revive post vowing Metro Manila mobility by 2022

December 19, 2023 - 5:49 PM
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EDSA traffic
Motorists experience heavy traffic at Kamuning Flyover along EDSA on Dec. 9, 2023 (The Philippine STAR/Michael Varcas)

An old post about the Metro Manila traffic went viral anew as Filipinos shared their travel experiences amid the Holiday rush.

Christmas season is upon us and for Filipinos, it is a big deal since the country is known for putting up decors and playing festive songs as soon as the “-ber” months begin.

But this year’s Holidays are different — there is an ongoing nationwide transport strike until December 29 to protest the government’s deadline to consolidate public utility vehicle (PUV) operators for the PUV modernization program.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that operators’ vehicles who fail to consolidate by January 1 of next year would be deemed illegal.

Under the modernization program, traditional jeepney and UV Express operators who consolidate will be given a certain amount of time to modernize into more eco-friendly e-jeeps or minibuses — vehicles that could cost up to P2.8 million each.

The strike has since made commuting a challenge for workers and residents of the metro and in nearby provinces who rely on PUVs to travel to and from their workplaces.

Apart from this, there is the expected high volume of vehicles on the road as people flock to different areas for Christmas parties, shop for gifts in various malls and run last-minute errands before vacationing in the holidays.

The situation has prompted some Filipinos to bring up a 2021 post that promised a more mobile Metro Manila by 2022.

“By 2022, Metro Manila traffic will never be the same. Every city in Metro Manila will be connected within a 20 to 30 [minute] time frame,” then-public works and highways secretary Mark Villar wrote on Facebook in April 2021.

A Facebook page recalled the post and commented on Dec. 19, 2023: “Mars, ano na balita dito??? Mas lumala pa. Dapat kasi nanahimik na lang, Mars. Eme.”

“[Ayun], traffic pa din,” a Facebook user commented on the same day.

“Oo naman. Las Piñas to Las Piñas, 30 minutes,” another user wrote on Dec. 19, 2023.

“Tama naman ‘yung ‘never be the same’ kasi mas lumala ‘yung traffic,” commented a different user on the same day.

“Huuuy, BGC to BGC is an hour,” another Filipino commented recently.

“20 to 30 mins. time frame, Makati to Makati pa din,” wrote a different user.

Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan also took note of the old post and commented: “Now, we are nearing the end of 2023. Metro Manila traffic has become worse.”

“Singilin natin ang mga pangako ng public servants. Because unfulfilled public service-related declarations and promises are a reflection of one’s leadership. #NasaanAngBagongPilipinas,” she added.

Villar, now a senator, previously responded to critics aying he was “quiet” about the issue of the perennial traffic in the metro.

He made the response after creating another post in June 2021 about the government’s EDSA decongestion program wherein he said that every Metro Manila city “will only be 20 to 30 minutes away.”

“Hindi ko naman sinasabi na kayang tapusin ‘yung traffic sa Metro Manila in a few years,” Villar said in December 2022.

“But definitely, ang importante, magkaroon tayo ng malaking improvement over the next few years… It would take more than just one project. Many projects. Pero importante lang, tuloy-tuloy ‘yung momentum,” he added.

Last year, Filipinos faced a similar problem.

Some commuters in December 2022 had a hard time booking in motorcycle-hailing apps — only to find out that some drivers were operating as “habal-habals” and asking for a higher fee than indicated in the app.

delivery service had to remind patrons that it does not transport people as Filipinos who found it difficult to commute ahead of the Holidays booked them for rides.

RELATED: Amid holiday rush, commuters complain vs motorbike taxis operating as habal-habal ridersDelivery service reminds commuters it is not licensed to transport people

Those who use ride-hailing apps like Grab also had a hard time commuting in the same month last year.

READ: Convenience comes with a price: Commuters face difficulty in booking rides amid Christmas rush

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) warned the public that vehicular traffic would become worse as Christmas Day approaches.

Acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes previously said that the traffic authority is confident its personnel could manage traffic on major roads since it has implemented certain measures.

These include the retention of window hours in the expanded number coding scheme and the deployment of a “strike force” for quicker apprehension of violators of traffic laws.

“We are sure we can manage traffic, we can manage that Metro Manila will not turn into a parking lot,” Artes said before.