This has been said time and again: development of Metro Manila’s outskirts – including Pampanga – will ease traffic in the Metro. Why people insist otherwise, we don’t know, unless they refuse to see the bigger picture.
This was reiterated by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., saying the development of areas around Metro Manila is not only for economic progress but also as a long-term solution to the city’s traffic congestion.
We agree with the senator that the National Capital Region is already teeming with development, so we think it’s about time that areas in the so-called “Greater Capital Region (GCR)” – Cavite and Batangas to the south; Bulacan, Pampanga, Olongapo and Tarlac to the north; and Rizal to the east – be given a chance for economic growth.
According to Marcos, if this is realized, then people from the provinces would no longer crowd Metro Manila to look for jobs. Employment opportunities would already be available in their areas, he added.
Traffic in Manila has become so terrible that people from the provinces – including Kapampangans – refuse to go there anymore. In fact, they loathe even the thought of going there to brave the vehicular gridlock, which usually lasts for hours on end.
A study (2012) showed that around P2.4 billion or $51 million is lost to vehicular gridlock in Manila daily. These losses, according to Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, were in terms of time and opportunity to earn by people stuck in traffic and the extra cost of operating vehicles in “standstill” roads.
Constructing more roads is not the solution, Marcos said. In fact, this would just add to the burden of the thousands of commuters in the long run, because there would be more roads for more vehicles to fill. A sustainable solution, he said, is decongestion by bringing development to provinces near and surrounding Metro Manila.
But here’s the question, according to Marcos: ‘Pangarap ka na lang ba, o magiging katotohanan pa?’