MANILA Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles® ) – In an interview with ABS-CBN News last week, Philippine Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said of Metro Manila’s traffic mess, “It may be ruining the day for thousands daily, but at least it’s ‘not fatal.’ ”
Abaya’s remarks quickly drew harsh criticism from politicians, the media and the commuting public.
At Malacañang yesterday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda appealed for patience and assured the public the government is seriously addressing the matter.
“The traffic situation is an issue that we continue to address. There have been a number of ongoing infrastructure projects and all of us are affected by it and we have asked the public for their understanding and patience,” Lacierda said.
Today, the Aquino administration unveiled a new, 5-point plan to solve Metro Manila’s traffic and transportation mess once and for all.
- MRT, Metro Manila’s light railway system, will not run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This, according to Abaya, will minimize the long lines at MRT stations that people see on a daily basis. “Wala nang pila tuwing Martes at Huwebes,” he said (There will be no more lines on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)
- Only buses will be allowed on Metro Manila streets on Mondays and Wednesdays. Private cars, jeepneys, tricycles and delivery trucks will be banned. “Everyone will be taking the bus, and there will be no traffic jams,” Abaya explained.
- Only jeepneys will be allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, greatly easing traffic gridlock caused by buses, trucks and private cars.
- Only delivery trucks will be allowed on Saturdays to ensure timely delivery of goods and services to businesses and private citizens.
- Sunday will be private car day. People who don’t own cars are encouraged to carpool with their neighbors to get to church or the shopping malls.
The only exception to the new rules are the cars of cabinet members and members of Congress, provided they do not use “wang wang” (sirens) which had been previously outlawed by President Aquino.