Duterte orders officials to reclaim public roads used for private purposes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22)—President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday proposed another solution to counter road congestion in Metro Manila.

Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, instructed transport officials, specifically the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to reclaim public roads used for private purposes.

“My request, my pleading to the MMDA and all concerned local officials in Metro Manila and other cities to take immediate action to ensure the speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic,” Duterte noted during his speech at the Batasang Pambansa.

“Reclaim all public roads that are being used for private entities. Marami diyan (there are lot there),” he added.

A 2018 report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) revealed that the Philippines is losing ₱3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in the metropolis. JICA, in a later study, said the country is also projected to lose ₱5.4 billion to traffic daily by 2035 if no interventions are made.

The chief executive directed the Interior Department to oversee the implementation of his order.

“And again, I ask Sec Año to see to it that this is enforced. If there is a mayor or a governor, isuspend mo (suspend him/her), Sir Año ,” Duterte added, apparently referring to mayors or governors who will not follow the order.