MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's promise of a 5-minute drive from Cubao in Quezon City to Makati City by December is "achievable," said a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) official on Wednesday, August 7.
Anna Mae Lamentillo, chairperson of the DPWH's Build, Build, Build committee, said this shortened drive will be made possible through a combination of road, bridge, and transportation projects set to be completed within the year.
"When this is completed, we are confident that we will be able to achieve the Cubao to Makati in 5 minutes," she said during a Malacañang press briefing.
Asked if this could be done by the December deadline the President mentioned in a June interview, Lamentillo said: "Categorically, I will say, yes, this is possible. I think a bigger announcement will be made. Let us wait for our Cabinet members to decide on traffic management."
The distance from Cubao to the Guadalupe area in Makati City is around 8 kilometers, and to the Makati Central Business District, around 11 kilometers.
Which projects will shorten the drive? A "combination" of Metro Manila infrastructure projects is designed to shorten drives from the northernmost part of Metro Manila to its southernmost part and decongest its two major thoroughfares, EDSA and C5.
"What we have right now is a master plan that will effectively decongest EDSA and C5 by about 300,000 vehicles in total," said Lamentillo.
One critical project is the Skyway Stage 3 which would offer an alternative route for motorists through 8 access points from Buendia in the south to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in the north.
The DPWH official said 95% of the project will be completed within 2019 while the entire project will be finished within 2020.
A Metro Manila "loop" will also be created through the NLEX Harbor Link which already stretches from Valenzuela City to Caloocan City and will be extended to the Port Area in Manila.
A 3rd project is the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road which will connect the Caloocan interchange of the NLEX Harbor Link and will eventually connect to the Skyway Stage 3.
Seen to further help ease congestion is the construction of several bridges all over the megacity. One such important bridge is the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Link Bridge which will reduce the drive between the two business hubs to 15 to 20 minutes.
What was Duterte's promise? In March and June this year, Duterte promised twice to reduce the Cubao-Makati drive to 5 minutes. In March, he said this would be possible by September at "the latest."
Then in June, 3 months before the September deadline, he said to give the government until December.
"You just wait. Ayaw ko mag-ano (I don't want to) but things will improve maybe, God willing, December, [it'll be] smooth-sailing," Duterte said in an interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
"You don't have to worry about traffic. Cubao and Makati is just about 5 minutes away," he said.
With Metro Manila's notorious traffic situation, the drive from Cubao to Makati can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours or even more.
Duterte has lamented that solving EDSA traffic is one of the promises he has yet to fulfill. After he failed to get emergency powers from Congress to solve the problem, Duterte, in his 4th State of the Nation Address, ordered the government to reclaim public roads being used for private purposes. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.