DOTr Sec: Wag na Tayo Mag Biruan. Gumaan ang Traffic sa EDSA
If you ask Department of Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade, the answer is clear.
“Wag na tayong mag-biruan,” he said. “Aminin naman natin na gumaan ang trapiko (sa EDSA) at naging maluwag. Alam naman natin kung sino nagsasabi na bwisit ang trapiko sa EDSA. (Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s all admit that traffic is lighter on EDSA. We all know who’s saying that traffic on EDSA is still pretty bad.”
Netizens have been debating on social media whether traffic in the capital’s main thoroughfare has indeed improved over the past few weeks. After the completion earlier this year of Skyway Stage 3, a project of the infrastructure unit of San Miguel Corp, officials have been proudly declaring that traffic has improved along EDSA.
In a virtual interview with editors of Summit Media titles, including Esquire Philippines, Tugade says criticism that traffic in the perennially congested road has not changed is unfair, considering that there are certain instances that just can’t be helped.
“Kita mo naman, meron ka nang dedicated (bus) lanes,” he said. “One time, bwisit yung isang sasakyan, biglang dumikit sa dedicated lane. Nagkaroon ng banggaan. Nagka-trapik. Headline: ‘Traffic na naman sa EDSA.’ Asus. Magkaroon tayo ng understanding. (There are now dedicated bus lanes there. But one time, a car hit the dedicated lane. There was a collision. There was a traffic jam. Then the headlines say, ‘Heavy traffic on EDSA.’ Come on. Let’s be more understanding.”
Tugade, whose department is in charge of the country’s transportation systems and management, says traffic itself is not the responsibility of just one agency.
“Alam din natin na yung estado ng trapiko hindi lang Kagawaran ng Transportasyon ang may responsibilidad diyan. Nariyan ang imprastruktura, ang Public Works. Nariyan ang enforcement, ang MMDA, whose primary mandate is to make sure traffic flows smoothly sa EDSA. Nariyan din ang kapulisan. Local governments. Higit sa lahat, nariyan din ang disiplina ng mga motorista. (We should be aware that traffic management is not the sole responsibility of the Department of Transportation. There’s infrastructure, which falls under the Department of Public Works and Highways. There’s also enforcement, which is unde the MMDA. And there’s the police force and local government units. Most of all, there’s also the motorists themselves).”
“Sabi mo, sa pananaw mo, nabago ba yung (traffic) sa EDSA,” he added. “Oo. 'Wag mo kalimutan, yung Public Works, with the help of San Miguel, si Mr. Ramon Ang, tinapos yung Skyway 3. Nakapaluwag (sa traffic) hindi ba? 'Wag na tayo mag-biro-biro diyan. Nakapaluwag ng trapiko yan. (You asked me if I think traffic improved on EDSA. Yes. Don’t forget, the DPWH, with the help of San Miguel and Mr. Ramon Ang, completed the Skyway Stage 3. That helped lighten traffic, right? So let’s not kid ourselves. It definitely helped improved traffic flow.”
Last June 9, President Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed that the traffic situation in EDSA has been solved and that it was possible to travel between Cubao in Quezon City to the airport in Pasay City—a journey that would take at least one hour during rush hour traffic—in just 15 minutes.
Even the MMDA said vehicles that used to traverse the avenue at speeds of seven to 12 kilometers per hour, were now doing so at an average of 20 to 30 kilometers per hour.
But some netizens aren’t convinced, with some people insisting that improvements in traffic were only due to community quarantines still imposed in Metro Manila, and that officials were posting photos and videos on EDSA only during off-peak or non-rush hours.