Every I was once even able to finish

Every person who
lives and has lived in Metro Manila has definitely had their fair share of
experiences with just how severe the Metro Manila traffic can get, especially
when it’s time to go home. I for one have had my share of experiences with it. Last
2016 when I still lived in San Juan and my mother in Cavite, we would go home
to Cavite every Friday night, although sometimes, Saturday morning. Every Saturday
morning, we would purposely leave the house at about six am, and we’d be able
to arrive there at about an hour. But should we decide to leave on Friday
night, the traffic is so severe that it would sometimes take us five hours just
to get there, even with Waze active. I was once even able to finish a poem
wherein I used iambic pentameter, and had it checked within that five hours. Sadly
though, I didn’t get any plus grades for it.

            Even now, that problem persists,
travelling from my new house in Caloocan, if we leave early, in 10 minutes we
would arrive in PIQC, but if we leave even just five minutes later than we
should, we would get to school in about 35 minutes. The Metro Manila traffic is
so problematic that although several solutions have been proposed and
implemented, nothing seems to have changed, and overtime only seems to have
worsened; furthermore, it has gone to the point that Metro Manila is partly
known for its traffic problem.

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            The gravity of the traffic problem
in Metro Manila is so severe, that it has been an issue for more than over 40
years. And in the time that has passed, it has only gotten worse. In study done
by Uber in 2017, Manila apparently ranks 3rd among Asian countries
in terms of traffic with an average of 66 minutes stuck in traffic. And it’s
only preceded by Bangkok with an average of 72 minutes and Jakarta with 68
minutes. When MMDA Chairman was asked about whether or not he believes the
Metro Manila traffic could be solved. He responded that since it is a man-made
problem, it is solvable. However, just what that specific solution is, is yet
to be found out (Ramirez, 2017).

            Another merit the Metro Manila
traffic has received is being labeled by Waze as having the ‘worst traffic on
Earth’ thrice. Once in 2015, Manila scored a 0.4 out of 10 for traffic, wherein
10 is the preferable result, and ranked 9th among the worst places
to drive. In 2016, it ranked second, and as for 2017, Manila took first place
in being the worst country to drive in out of 39 surveyed by Waze. Just knowing
that already speaks volumes about how severe the traffic problem is in Metro
Manila.

            In connection to what has been said,
there are of course a lot of interlinked factors that contribute to making this
problem worse. For instance, the demand for transport network vehicle services
has continuously increased, resulting to more cars being on the road. Notice that
in every year that passes, Manila traffic climbed the ranks until it reached
the top in 2017. Consistent with this is the continuous progression of Grab and
Uber, the two largest TNVS operators in the Philippines, especially in the
Metro. And with each passing year since Grab and Uber began their operating
services, more and more drivers have applied to become their drivers. It once
even reached to the point that the LTFRB felt they had to step in due to the
over-inflation of Grab and Uber drivers last year.

            This of course then brings us to our
next factor. Car companies have been feeding the demand for cars by putting a
lot of cars on promo. Some cars even have down payments that go as low as 4,000.00
Php – a ridiculously low price. Some other promos even offer 0% interest with
an affordable down payment (for further details, go check AutoDeal). This of
course would have been fine if some of the people living Metro Manila did not
already have one or two cars of their own. But knowing the Filipino mindset,
given the chance to get more, they will.

            Now with the advent of extremely
cheap deals for brand new cars, this then sparks an interest for those who did
not have any cars to begin with to buy a car, instead of using the public
transport system. And this is only in addition to the ones who already have a
car/s yet still bought more. Of course they can’t be blamed if they do not want
to use the public transportation services. Jeeps are very crowded, hot, and
often uncomfortable. Taxis are expensive, and buses are often cramped and
crowded. And as for the MRT and LRT services, MRT trains are mostly broken and
about only seven are working. Not to mention, the lines for it can reach
distances you wouldn’t be able to imagine during rush hours. And LRT trains
share the same state of affairs as buses, often cramped and crowded.

            In order to resolve this problem, a
lot of solution have been proposed and yet nothing seems to have changed. Even under
the Senate Bill No. 11, the Transportation Crisis Act, wherein President Duterte
already has the right to use “emergency powers” to resolve the issue still
doesn’t seem to be enough fix the problem. The bill gives him the right to
personally buy the necessary equipment needed, and transact directly for
projects to be done. It also grants him the authority to restructure
transportation departments such DOTr, LTO, LTFRB, and MMDA.

            In another effort to end the
problem, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) took control of the Metro Manila
traffic management system last 2016. The Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and MMDA
are already both working with the DOTr in an effort to find a solution to the
long-standing problem. The LTO and LTFRB even took part in this effort, yet the
product of their effort is nowhere to be seen. Even though they imposed rules
and projects in order to lessen traffic, none of these seem to have been
effective, evident by Manila ranking first out of 39 countries in terms driver
dissatisfaction of traffic by Waze.

            However, in my eyes, the true root
to this problem first begins with the over density of the population in Metro
Manila, and for this to be solved, change needs to happen. For starters, one of
the main reason why the public transportation systems are all broken or having
that should not be as long as it is, is because too many people are using them.
Even with people opting to buy their own cars, the line for the MRT is still
ridiculously long. And each time the MRT loads passengers, it is always chocked
full of passengers that you can barely even move.

            Some roads can’t even be expanded
mainly due to the informal settlers living around them. A lot of the streets in
Metro Manila has enough space for two cars but due to informal settlers, it
becomes exact for just one car. And so, if a politician or official would try
to move them elsewhere, the informal settlers sometimes create such a huge
issue out of it. They want everything to be provided for them if you wish them
to move.

            And so if the problem is that the
population within the Metro is too dense, then the solution of course would be
to lessen the density. Which can be done only if those who came to live in
Manila return to the provinces. However since they came to Manila with the
wrong idea that their lives would get better here, it is unlikely that they
would still return to their provinces.

            Aside from lessening of population
density, people also need to get rid of unnecessary cars. In doing so, the cars
on the streets would be lessened. Less space on the sides of the road would
also be consumed if those who have cars exceeding their parking space limit
would get rid of their excess cars since they are usually parked on the side of
the road. Doing any of the two would certainly free up more space on the roads;
allowing the flow of cars to hopefully become smoother.

Then
again however, Filipinos are highly unlikely to do any of these things. Thus,
the impossibility of ever resolving this problem is higher than the possibility
that this long-term problem of the Philippines will ever be solved.