Should she become president, Poe guarantees to ease traffic 'within a year'

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Traffic is one of the main problems in the Philippines. Presidential candidate Grace Poe said, should she win the presidency, she would solve the country's traffic situation in one year.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The traffic situation in the country is a nagging issue for motorists and commuters.

According to a 2015 traffic index report by online database Numbeo, the Philippines is the fifth country in the world — third in Asia — with the worst traffic conditions.

The report also revealed that the average one-way commuting and traveling time in the Philippines takes about 46.09 minutes before people reach their destination.

Related: Lack of discipline, car volume blamed for Metro Manila road congestion

Should she win in the May 9 polls, presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe vowed to ease the traffic in one year.

"I will guarantee to you that if I become president, I think we can help ease the traffic at least within a year," Poe told students of San Beda College during CNN Philippines' Town Hall on Thursday (January 28).

The senator enumerated a few suggestions that would help address the problem of traffic congestion.

"Just add the necessary number of trains. Start finishing the lines that are already supposed to be done. Enforcing the rules, making sure that there's a proper drop-off for provincial buses outside of Metro Manila," she said. "It can ease traffic."

Also read: How to keep calm while stuck in traffic

Focus outside Metro Manila as well

Poe explained that other parts of the country also have bad traffic conditions and proposed to establish transport systems in areas outside the metro.

"Let's look beyond Metro Manila... Cebu is also [experiencing] traffic and other places in the country are also [experiencing] traffic," said Poe. "If we are truly going to be a globally competitive country, we should look beyond Metro Manila and start having mass transport systems, rail systems outside Metro Manila."

Poe even suggested building subway systems to reduce the volume of traffic on the road.

"Another thing we can look into also are underground subway systems. I know that people question it, but we need to be able to get the best engineers to design it — they may not be local," she said.

But she cautioned that "we should also be able to have the right partnership with a company that has the track record to do that."

Related: Roxas least qualified to solve Metro Manila traffic problem — transport expert

How to address flooding

It was also brought up in the discussion that flooding, due to lack of proper and effective drainage systems, also contributes to the bad traffic condition in the metro.

Poe's running mate, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, who was also in attendance, suggested a solution to this concern.

"Pangunahin problema ayon sa pag-aaral at pananaliksik ng DPWH mismo ay karamihan ng drainage systems natin ay maliit o clogged na. Pangunahing problema din kaugnay ng pagbabaha ay kulang na ang dinadaluyan ng tubig sa ating bansa," Escudero said.

[Translation: The main problem, according to the study of DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways], is that most of our drainage systems are small or are already clogged. Another problem related to flooding is the lack of waterways in our country.]

Escudero pointed out that informal settlers occupy around 3,000 hectares in Metro Manila, and putting up a structure that could house them would lead to more space for roads and drainage systems.

"Kung magpatayo tayo ng 4-storey structure malilibre natin approximately 2,250 hectares or 22.5 million square meters para sa open space, para sa kalye, para sa drainage at para sa mas maluwang na daluyan ng trapiko."

[Translation: If we build a 4-storey structure, we could free up approximately 2,250 hectares or 22.5 million square meters for open space, roads, drainage (systems) and better flow of of traffic.]

Also read: 'Open telecom market to foreign investors,' Poe on solving PH's Internet woes