Gordon: Disperse industries to solve traffic problem

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — Senator Richard Gordon said dispersing industries to the countryside will solve the metro's traffic problem.

In a panel discussion on CNN Philippines' Town Hall Wednesday, Gordon said there is a need to develop major airports and seaports in Luzon to decongest Manila.

"Ginagamit ba 'yung Subic Airport? Ginamit ng FedEx 'yan; nang umalis ang FedEx, nawala lahat ng infrastructure namin diyan. Ibalik niyo 'yan," Gordon said.

[Translation: Are we using Subic Airport? FedEx used that. When FedEx pulled out, our infrastructures went along with them. Return the infrastructures.]

Gordon was chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in 1997. He signed a $1.6-million dollar contract for the infrastructure development of Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) with the help of courier company Federal Express (FedEx).

FedEx used SBIA until 2009 before moving its base hub to Guangzhou, China. Onground airport operations were transferred to Clark International Airport, before SBIA was opened to commercial flights again in 2016.

Gordon pointed out Manila and Subic both have airports and seaports which can encourage other investors to help boost the economy, as well as direct foot traffic and industries to areas other than Manila.

"And then you have to have the local governments create the industrial parks, na pagpunta doon, hindi mo sasabihing, 'Saan ako maglalagay ng negosyo ko? Doon!' Hindi ganoon. Dito, dito tayo maglalagay," he added.

[Translation: And then you have the local government create the industrial parks, so that when (investors) arrive, you don't ask, "Where do we put our businesses? There?" Not that. You can say, "Here, you can establish your business here.]

"Dapat joint airport 'yung Clark at saka Subic, para lilipat dito ang airways," he added.

[Translation: Clark and Subic should be joint airports, so that airways would transfer there.]

Related: DOTr: Manila-Clark railway to cut down travel time to less than an hour

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport alone hosted around 130,404 commercial flights in 2016.

Gordon added that Manila residents should consider living in high-rise homes further from the roads to ease foot traffic.

"Build up Manila. Stop building low slung homes. We have to act as a nation, we have to come up with congruent solutions," he said.

Corruption behind traffic

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chief-of-Staff Jojo Garcia, everyone knows that the volume of vehicles are behind the traffic problem.

"Tinatanggap naman ng lahat na ang volume ng sasakyan ang main cause ng problema", Garcia said in CNN Philippines' Town Hall.

[Translation: Everyone understands that the volume of vehicles is the main cause of the problem.]

Garcia pointed out that obstruction and corruption are behind the traffic problem.

He noted that because you can pay off some traffic enforcers, the cases of sidewalk obstruction, illegal parking, and violation of traffic laws

"'Yung mga PUV (drivers), hindi maglalakas ng loob huminto kung saan-saan kung walang patong or payola sa mga enforcers. 'Yung mga illegal vendors di maglalakas ng loob 'yan kung wala silang binibigyan."

[Translation: PUV drivers won't just unload anywhere if you can't bribe enforcers. Illegal vendors would not go against the law if they can't pay anyone off.]

Garcia said the target is to enforce discipline not just with motorists, but also with enforcers.

"May pag-asa pa 'yung Metro Manila," Garcia said.

[Translation: Metro Manila still has hope.]