Metro Manila is most congested city in developing Asia, study shows

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26)— Metro Manila has been tagged as the “most congested” city in developing Asia, a recent study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) revealed. 

In its 2019 development report, ADB said that out of the 278 Asian cities with population of more than 5 million people, the Philippine capital ranked as the most congested with a value of 1.5—higher than the 1.24 average in the region.

Aside from Metro Manila, among the most congested areas in Asia include Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Yangon City in Myanmar, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Bengaluru in India, and Hanoi in Vietnam.

Congestion emerges when the demand for travel surpasses the limit of a country’s current transportation network, the report said. An average of 1.24 congestion value means that 24 percent more time is needed to travel in peak hours rather than in off-peak hours, it added.

The ADB study attributed the congestion values to “lack of efficient and affordable public transportation” in a country.

"Enhancing public transport is therefore considered necessary to tackle congestion and thus improve mobility within a city,” the report stressed.

The Manila-based ADB used nighttime satellite imagery and Google Maps for the study.

‘Gov’t branches must work together’

Malacañang meanwhile remains hopeful the traffic and congestion problems in the metro would be resolved before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term—with all the infrastructure projects on the table under the government’s Build, Build, Build program.

READ: Build, Build, Build: Strong private sector interest, but bigger challenges lie ahead

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo emphasized that government agencies should work together in solving the road and transport issues in the country.

“Di ba sinabi ni Presidente ‘gusto gawan ng paraan eh ayaw niyo naman, di ba? Kailangan kasi all branches, must cooperate with each other,” Panelo said in a media briefing Thursday.

[Translation: The President said, let’s create a solution, but you don’t like it, right? All branches must cooperate with each other.]

“'Di pe-pwedeng isang branch lang ng gobyerno ang mamamahala at tutugon sa pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin,” he added.

[Translation: One government branch can’t do all the work to solve our countrymen’s problems.]

Panelo said officials will likely raise the said issue during their next Cabinet meeting.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), for its part, said congestion in the capital city is a result of many factors—some of which are beyond the agency’s scope.

“The congestion of Metro Manila is a result of so many factors, such as the influx of people from the provinces looking for higher wages,” MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a statement.

“By fact, figures won’t lie that with the presence of 410,000 vehicles traversing EDSA, 17 malls, 47 bus terminals, 150 perpendicular roads, number of schools and universities in primary roads, lack of road network and the day time population which is more than 10 million, we are totally congested,” she added.

Duterte earlier said he would not push for Congress to grant him emergency powers to solve Metro Manila's traffic gridlock. The chief executive said it is no longer feasible to complete projects intended to address traffic congestion as he is down to his last years as president.

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