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

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2019   •   240

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)

Malls in Metro Manila to adjust operating hours starting Nov. 11 – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Operators of shopping malls in Metro Manila have agreed to adjust their operating hours during the holiday season to help in the bid to ease the country’s traffic woes, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday.

The MMDA said mall operators agreed to open shop an hour later than the usual time at 11 a.m. during weekdays starting November 11, 2019, until January 10, 2020.

Mall sales will also be prohibited from Monday to Friday in the same period, the MMDA said.

Deliveries of non-perishable goods will also be limited at night time, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Shopping mall operators also agreed on deploying additional security personnel to direct the flow of vehicles going inside mall parking areas which cause traffic gridlock.

They also agreed to remove obstructions on loading and unloading bays in mall vicinities.

The MMDA said the agreement was made during their meeting on Tuesday which tackled traffic contingency measures to ease the anticipated traffic, particularly along EDSA, during the holiday season.

The agency estimates there are at least 100 shopping malls in Metro Manila.

“Traffic is already bad and we expect it to get worse as the number of vehicles increases daily,” said MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia.

Road reblocking along EDSA and C5 will also be temporarily suspended in the same period, except for government flagship projects and emergency cases, according to the MMDA.

Manila Water customers warned of new round of service interruptions starting Oct. 24

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Water on Tuesday warned its customers of a new round of water service interruptions which could start this week amid declining water level in Angat Dam.

In a series of advisories posted on Facebook, the concessionaire announced the schedule of rotating water supply interruptions that may possibly be implemented in the east zone of Metro Manila and nearby provinces beginning Thursday, Oct. 24.  

“Ito ay posibleng kailanganing isagawa upang mapagkasya ang limitado pa ring supply ng tubig hanggang sa susunod na tag-araw, maging sa kabuuan ng susunod na taon, kung sakaling hindi na umabot pa sa inaasahang 212 meters na lebel ang Angat Dam sa pagtatapos ng 2019,” Manila Water said.

The utility firm said supply interruptions, which are scheduled between 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day, may affect selected barangays in Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Manila, Makati, Marikina, Parañaque, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, and Taguig.

#TubigAdvisory METRO MANILAKung magpapatuloy ang pagbaba ng lebel ng Angat Dam, posibleng ipatupad ng Manila Water ang…

Posted by Manila Water on Monday, 21 October 2019

The rotating service disruption may also affect Manila Water customers in Rizal Province, including in barangays Angono, Antipolo, Baras, Binangonan, Cainta, Jalajala, San Mateo, Taytay, Rodriguez, and Teresa.

#TubigAdvisory RIZAL PROVINCEKung magpapatuloy ang pagbaba ng lebel ng Angat Dam, posibleng ipatupad ng Manila Water…

Posted by Manila Water on Monday, 21 October 2019

As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Angat Dam’s water level is at 186.46 meters. The dam’s water elevation has consistently declined in the past few weeks due to a lack of heavy rainfall that could have raised its reserves.

The water concessionaire also urged its clients to conserve water and to store only enough supply for the impending service interruptions.

Last week, the west zone water concessionaire Maynilad also warned its customers to prepare for another round of service interruptions due to dipping water levels at Angat and Ipo dams.

LIST: Weekend road repairs, reblocking in Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Several roads in Metro Manila will be closed to motorists starting Friday night for the scheduled road repairs and reblocking.

In an advisory, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said road repair works on the following roads will begin 11 p.m. Friday (Oct. 18) until 5 a.m. Monday (Oct. 21):


  • EDSA Camp Crame Gate to after Annapolis St. (beside MRT)
  • EDSA before Estrella (outer lane)
  • EDSA Panorama Bldg. to Bansalangin St. (1st lane from sidewalk)
  • G. Araneta T. Arguelles to Bayanin (1st lane from sidewalk)


  • Quirino Highway Quezon City King Fisher to Belfast (inner lane)
  • General Luis St. Rebisco Road to SB Road
  • Elliptical Road after Maharlika St. (6th lane from outer sidewalk)


  • Bonifacio Ave. J. Pineda St. to Marvex St. (2nd lane from sidewalk)
  • EDSA after Aurora Blvd. to New York St. (3rd lane from sidewalk)
  • Katipunan Ave./C-5 after CP Garcia St. (truck lane)
  • EDSA near NIA South Road (3rd lane from the sidewalk)

Affected motorists are advised to avoid said areas and use alternate routes instead.


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