ADB study finds Metro Manila as most congested city in developing Asia

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2019   •   495

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila is the most congested city in Asia, a recent study conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has found.

According to ADB’s Macroeconomic Research Division, of the 278 cities studied to measure citywide congestion, the metropolis is the most congested natural city.

Natural cities, the ADB said, are those with a population greater than five million.

According to ADB’s latest outlook released on Wednesday, congestion arises when demand for travel exceeds the maximum capacity of the transportation network.

The study showed that Metro Manila has average citywide congestion of 1.5 which is the highest among the 24 largest cities in the region.

Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia came in second in the list of most congested cities, followed by Yangon City in Myanmar, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Bengaluru in India.

The ADB used nighttime lights from satellite images of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, grid population data from LandScan Datasets of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and trip routes from Google maps to estimate travel time during peak and off-peak hours.

The study estimated the extent of congestion based on the time lost and vehicle operating cost of a traveler.

“We calculated the ratio of driving duration during a peak hour to the off-peak hour between two locations in each direction and averaged across two opposite directions to obtain a congestion index for each location pair, which basically indicated the time needed to travel in peak-hour traffic relative to free-flowing traffic,” it said.

To remain dynamic and to resolve traffic congestions, the ADB said, these cities need to build more efficient transport networks and address weak infrastructure, as well as housing and education and health care services.

In response to the report, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the study tagging Metro Manila is based on facts as its population has already reached more than 12 million.

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago also said the congestion in the metropolis is the result of many factors, including the overcrowding of people and vehicles.

“By fact, figures won’t lie that with the presence of 410,000 vehicles traversing Edsa (per day), 17 malls, 47 bus terminals, 150 perpendicular roads, number of schools and universities in primary roads, lack of road network and the day time population which is more than 10 million. We are totally congested,” Pialago said in a statement.

Congress, for its part, said it is moving to address the country’s traffic woes but it is unlikely to grant the present administration’s bid for emergency powers.

“Pwede pa naman kasi magkaroon ng iba lang ang pangalan pero consolidation pa rin ng mga kailangan nila. Ito naman ay traffic assistance, traffic management baka yan ang gagawin natin pero lahat ng kailangan nila right of way, procurement, pati na rin traffic plan ng mga local government ay pwedeng ipagsama sama pa rin sa bill na yun. Iba lang ang pangalan,” said Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services.

Samar 1st District Representative Edgar Sarmiento, who chairs the House committee on transportation, echoed Poe’s statement.

“We want to avoid “emergency” that’s why we are using “crisis.” Parehas lang ito but by law, by constitution, you can only use emergency in case of lawless violence… With this resolution, we can again empower the executives to come up finally with formula kung paano nila maa-adress ang traffic,” he said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, reiterated that the country’s problem on traffic cannot be solved by the executive branch alone and would need the cooperation of other government branches.

“Di ba sinabi ni Presidente, ‘gusto kong gawan ng paraan, ayaw ninyo naman.’ Kailangan kasi all branches must cooperate with each other, di pwedeng isang branch ng gobyerno ang mamahala at tutugon sa pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin, otherwise talagang mahihirapan,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

AFP, PNP provide free ride to commuters amid limited public transport

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have deployed buses and trucks to help transport stranded commuters after Metro Manila shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said they sent three police trucks from Camp Crame to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Navotas, and Bacoor, Cavite to assist employees returning to work on the first day of Metro Manila’s transition to GCQ.

“Naging maayos at mapayapa at ito ay magandang panimula subalit may mga natanggap din tayo na ulat ng traffic build up at congestion at mga pedestrians at essential workers na hindi nakasakay,” Banac said.

“Agad nagpalabas ng kautusan si PNP chief PGen. Archie Gamboa sa ating mga units na tumulong na magsakay ng mga stranded na essentials workers, maging ang mga PNP Trucks natin ay pinalabas din upang makapaghatid ng mga manggagawa sa kani kanilang destination,” he added.

The military, for its part, deployed six trucks to Batasan and Philcoa areas in Quezon City to augment limited public transport.

“AFP Chief General Filemon Santos Jr. commits to continue to provide commuter assistance in coordination with MMDA to alleviate the concerns of the riding public,” AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said.

Arevalo assured that other military vehicles are on standby for dispatch when requested by authorities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Mabigat na trapiko at hirap sa pagsakay, bumungad sa unang araw ng GCQ sa Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mabigat na daloy ng mga sasakyan sa kahabaan ng EDSA ang bumungad sa mga motorista sa unang araw ng general community quarantine (GCQ) sa Metro Manila.

Ito ay dahil sa bulto ng mga pribadong sasakyan, pampasaherong bus na ginamit sa augmentation program ng Department of Transportation (DOTr), at mga taxi at transport network vehicle service na pinayagan nang bumiyahe sa ilalim ng GCQ.

Nakadagdag rin sa pagsisikip ng trapiko sa kalsada ang pag-arangkada ng point-to-point (P2P) buses, shuttle services ng mga kumpanya at mga bisikleta.

Nagsimula na ring gamitin ngayong araw ng mga pampasaherong bus ang innermost lane ng EDSA.

Pero hindi natapos ang loading at unloading bay areas sa ilalim ng MRT-3 stations kaya apat na istasyon lang muna ang hihintuan ng mga bus upang magsakay at magbaba ng mga pasahero.

Ito ay ang North Avenue station, Quezon Avenue, Ayala at Taft Stations.

Batay sa patakaran ng Inter-Agency Task Force, limitado lang ang bilang ng mga pasaherong maaaring sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan pang masunod ang panuntunan sa physical distancing.

Hindi rin lahat ng ruta ng pampasaherong bus ang pinayagang magbalik-pasada kaya pahirapan ang pagsakay ng mga pasahero.

May ilang pasahero na inabot ng ilang oras sa paghihintay ng masasakyan habang may iba namang naglakad na lang papasok sa trabaho.

Ang construction worker na si Jonathan Suico, madaling araw pa umalis sa Rizal ngunit naglakad rin pagdating sa may EDSA-Shaw Boulevard dahil walang masakyang bus papunta sa kanyang trabaho.

“Pupunta sana dun sa dulo kung may bus, eh ang masama nga eh, wala po eh. Wala pong magagawa po ma’am eh. Maglalakad na lang po,” ani Suico.

Humingi naman ng pang-unawa ang DOTr sa publiko sa limitadong transportasyon.

Ipinaalala rin ng kagawaran na naka-community quarantine pa rin naman ang Metro Manila at hindi pa maaaring lubusang magbalik-operasyon ang sektor ng transportasyon.

“Humihingi rin kami ng inyong pag-iintindi kasi nga ho, ‘wag nating kalimutan na tayo ay quarantine pa rin ho… At ang nangingibabaw po sa pagdating sa kagawaran ng transportasyon, ay ang inyong kalusugan, ang inyong kaligtasan,” ani Transportation Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez sa isang panayam sa UNTV ngayong Lunes.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III na pinag-aaralan na nila ang paglalagay ng bus stops sa Cubao at Ortigas Station kung saan malaki ang bulto ng mga pasahero.

“Nakita natin na full force ngayong araw yung mga bus na binigyan natin ng special permit so tuloy tuloy,” ani Delgra.

Tulad sa mga tren, limitado lang din sa 50-porsyento ng kapasidad ng mga pampublikong sasakyan ang bilang ng mga pasaherong maaaring isakay.

Dapat rin ay nasusunod sa mga ito ang physical distancing at iba pang health protocols upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng coronavirus disease. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspendent Harlene Delgado)

Cebu, Mandaue and Zamboanga cities placed under GCQ starting June 1

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from Metro Manila, several areas have also been placed also under general community quarantine (GCQ) for 15 days starting Monday (June 1).

Based on the latest announcement by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, these areas include the entire Region VII or Central Visayas particularly Cebu City and Mandaue City as well as Zamboanga City in Mindanao.

The decision to place these areas under GCQ came after their local governments appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 for a reclassification of quarantine status.

These areas are in addition to the previously announced regions and localities which will be under GCQ starting June 1, namely the National Capital Region, Pangasinan, Regions II, III, IV-A and Davao City.

Meanwhile, all other areas not mentioned will be placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting next month. 

Therefore, starting Monday (June 1), two community quarantine measures will be implemented — the general community quarantine (GCQ) where most industries and economic sectors will be allowed to operate; and the modified general community quarantine (NGCQ) which is the last phase towards the transition to the ‘new normal.’ MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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