‘Bakit Skyway na naman?’: SMC asked amid Skyway connector plan for NAIA rehab

March 21, 2024 - 4:50 PM
File photo of Skyway (The STAR/Ernie Penaredondo, file)

A consortium led by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) unveiled plans of building a Skyway connector as part of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport rehabilitation under the government’s private-public partnership.

SMC president and chief executive officer Ramong Ang said this Skyway connector seeks to address traffic congestion problems.

The plan drew flak among some Filipinos online who think that toll projects are car-centric and will not benefit commuters.

Transport and mobility advocate Robert Anthony Siy (@goodkidbikecity) reposted the news of the plans reported by Joseph Morong on social media, alluding to the cyclical “promise” of ending traffic with the same Skyway projects.

In his post, Siy was referring to Skyway Stages 1 to 3, built across Metro Manila in 1999, 2011, and 2021 respectively.

During the inauguration of Skyway Stage 3 in Quezon City, former president Rodrigo Duterte affirmed that this and other future skyway projects will make road users’ lives more comfortable.

The newest Skyway plan set to finish by 2025 will have three lanes that bypass Magallanes to NAIA Terminal 3, along with a two-way lane going to Pasay.

Another X user (formerly Twitter) retweeted Morong’s report suggesting that building a train would have been a better option in easing congestion to and from the airport. 

“Ba’t ‘di na lang linya ng tren? Ba’t skyway na naman? Gaano karaming Pinoy ba ang may kotse? Gaano kamura ba ang petrolyo? Gaano kamura ba ang taxi at ride hailing services pa-airport? Gaano kabilis ba makarating dun?” he said.

Other replies to the report also suggested railways like other countries have in their airports.

“Improve public transportation and rail lines rather than skyways. These are expensive options, and only people with cars benefit skyways,” the X user wrote.

“Samantala, if we have better public transportation and rail lines, ordinary folks move people better & do not cost much to the riding public,” he concluded.

Countries like China, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have airport rail link systems that connect airports to cities.

Philippines’ airport complex is accessible via metered cabs, hotel drivers, chauffeur services, private vehicles, shuttles from designated areas like the EDSA-Taft Metro Rail Transit station and city buses that ply EDSA-MIA route. 

Meanwhile, inside the airport, passengers with connecting flights could use the Manila International Airport Authority shuttle bus for free to get from one airport terminal to another.

Transport and mobility advocates have long lamented the traffic congestion in Metro Manila that makes commuters’ lives inconvenient and worse, unbearable. 

Transport groups have also raised discourse on urban planning, creation of bike lanes, making cities walkable, and overall making Metro Manila commuter-friendly. 

This is why infrastructures that do not directly cater to mass transit strike these advocates badly. According to data, nine out of ten households in Manila do not own private vehicles. 

Another Filipino shared his thoughts on the matter using a reaction video, wherein Gina Pareño wails “Tama na” over and over.

In a Reddit post in r/Philippines, a user posted a meme humoring the traffic in EDSA and Skyway.

Skyway Premium Traffic
byu/griftertm inPhilippines

Along with the Skyway connector, Ang said that SMC plans to construct a new passenger terminal building to accommodate more foot traffic and vehicle parking.

Ang also revealed that SMC is preparing to construct another airport in Bulacan which he explained would additionally help manage airplanes and passengers better.