Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile: We need to disperse the business activities to pull out the population out of the city.
To address the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila and other cities in the Philippines, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile urged the government to decongest the nation’s capital by giving tax incentives to create economic centers in other areas, citing that the current drive to increase transportation infrastructure under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program would not be enough.
“Dito sa Maynila, you need decongestion. You need to disperse the business activities to pull out the population out of the city,” Enrile said in a radio interview, adding:
“You have to give incentives. Differentiate the system of taxation in different parts of the country to pull out the business activities.”
The four-term senator, who is vying for another seat in the Senate in the upcoming elections, explained that projects to increase transportation infrastructure – such as the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte – will not fully address congestion.
“You cannot solve these only by the construction of roads. You have to design a long-term policy and program including funding,” the veteran lawmaker said.
He added, “Bakit dumadaloy yung tao dito? Sapagkat nandito yung trabaho. [Kaya] bigyan mo [sila] ng trabaho sa ibang lugar. Encourage the businessmen to put up their businesses outside of Metro Manila”.
According to Enrile, who previously served as Acting Secretary of the Department of Finance, the cost of dispersing businesses to other areas will be “much cheaper” compared to the cost of putting up more infrastructure in Metro Manila and other cities.
The former Minister of National Defense also raised the issue that congestion and heavy traffic will worsen the “security” situation in the nation’s capital, saying, “You have to consider the security of the people”.
“The problem of Manila is it’s too congested. All the developments are being done in the core territory of the Philippines, which is very dangerous from a security viewpoint and many other things,” Enrile said in an earlier Senatorial forum.
According to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), traffic is expected to worsen this year since two major thoroughfares – the EDSA-Guadalupe Bridge and Rockwell or Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge – will be closed for rehabilitation starting this month.
There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of vehicles plying Metro Manila since last year, the MMDA reported.
In February 2018, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reported that the country loses as much as P3.5 billion per day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila. By 2035, the losses could add up to as much as P5.4 billion per day if no solutions are undertaken.
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