June 19, 2014
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has released a video presentation of the "Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas" (Infra Roadmap for Mega Manila).
The roadmap study was conducted in response to the request by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in order to formulate a comprehensive transport roadmap towards 2030. The roadmap defines "Mega Manila" as Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, which are the main focus in this study.
The transport roadmap emphasizes the need to establish better north-south connectivity and appropriate hierarchy of different transportation modes such as roads, railways, and other mass transits. This forms the Dream Plan to have a modern, affordable and a well-coordinated and integrated transport system for Mega-Manila by 2030.
JICA Philippines Chief Representative Noriaki Niwa emphasized that the roadmap is important to make Metro Manila a globally competitive and environmentally sustainable city.
"The roadmap was originally expected to be finished in August 2013 (see: "JICA Readies Transport Infra Roadmap for Mega Manila", August 1, 2013), but it was extended to March 2014 based on the request from the Philippine Government, and the final report includes preliminary studies for "Mega Manila Subway Project" and "New NAIA Project"", added Niwa. "We will consider the possibility of further assistance for the Subway and New NAIA, which we believe Japanese technologies can be utilized".
It is really urgent to mitigate traffic congestion in Metro Manila, not only to attract investments but to create a livable urban area as well. Also of particular importance is to reduce if not totally eradicate the number of people living in hazardous areas. According to the above-mentioned roadmap, the transport cost because of the traffic congestion in Metro Manila is 2.4 billion pesos a day.
"Looking back at the past assistance", Program Manager Floro Adviento pointed out "many transport studies including JICA-funded "Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integrated Study (MMUTIS)" in 1999 have been conducted for Metro Manila, but only few projects that were proposed in the past have been realized up to now. Timely project implementation is crucial and will be the key to the Dream Plan towards 2030".
Program Officer Patrick San Juan also explained that the roadmap study is a collaboration among JICA, NEDA, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and relevant stakeholders / other related agencies. "Various discussions have been made with high officials of the government as well as the private sector", added San Juan.
The final report of the roadmap has been submitted to NEDA in March 2014. "We expect the roadmap study to be approved by the President in due course and will finally become an official development plan of the Philippine Government", Representative Yuya Takagi said. "The video presentation will help to raise public awareness to the roadmap and traffic problem in the country overall", he added.
Senior Representative Eigo Azukizawa assured "we believe this roadmap will be one of the major achievements of the Aquino Administration, which should be carried over to future administrations."
The roadmap also aims to realize five NOs: 1. "NO traffic congestion", 2. "NO household living in high hazard risk areas", 3. "NO barrier for seamless mobility", 4. "NO excessive transport cost burden for low-income groups", 5. "NO air pollution".
"As the owner of the roadmap study, NEDA's role is crucial in order to make it officially approved and draw attentions from both public and private sectors", Azukizawa added.