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Cubao-Makati drive in 5 minutes on EDSA?

24 June 2019

Traffic on EDSA. Relief by December? Photo from MMDA

President Rodrigo Duterte has set a target of five minutes for travel from Cubao to Makati by December on EDSA, the highway with the heaviest vehicular traffic in the Philippines , and officials are scrambling to meet it..

Duterte sparked the move after he told Pastor Apollo Quiboloy in his program, “Give Us This Day”: “You just wait. Ayaw ko mag-ano but things will improve maybe God willing, December smooth sailing na. You don’t have to worry about traffic. Cubao and is just about five minutes away.”

Bong Nebrija, Edsa traffic head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said the task force “CubMa” or “Cubao-Makati” has been created to pursue the target. “Alam niyo naman po lahat ng pronouncement ng Pangulo, it becomes a directive and a mandate not only to MMDA but to all government agencies,” Nebrija said in an interview over dzMM.

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 “We will enforce traffic laws. If masusunod ‘yun, I think masosolusyonan ‘yung order ng Presidente (If traffic laws are obeyed, I think the order of the President can be realized),” said the director of the Philippine National Police–Highway Patrol Group, Brig. Gen. Roberto Fajardo told the Inquirer in an interview. He added that patrolmen under his group will have 50 new BMW motorcycles to use for enforcement.

Other measures, he said, include strict enforcement of the use of bus lanes, closure of bus terminals along Edsa, and moving the motorcycle lane to  the third lane from the fast lane.

Fajardo said the target can be hit even earlier than Duterte’s deadline. He added that his unit proved that this is possible with a police-escorted drive at midnight from Cubao to Guadalupe, on the edge of Makati.

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How will this be made possible when the speed limit on EDSA is 60 kilometers per hour, and the distance between Cubao and Ayala Ave. is 12.9 kilometers—which means that even without traffic, such a drive will last 12.8 minutes?

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters: “Surprise! He has something on his sleeves.”

Although he did not elaborate, Panelo pointed to Congress where the president now enjoys a supermajority in both houses: “Congress knows what is the problem so it should know what to do to respond to the situation. After all, they are there, just like the President, to serve the Filipino people. And that includes putting the riding public in a convenient situation.”

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On Feb. 24, the President lamented in a speech in Biñan, Laguna, that of all his campaign promises, solving the traffic problem on EDSA was his only failure. “Wala akong pangako na hindi ko natupad except ‘yang Edsa,” he said. “Nangako ako na free tuition, nandiyan na ang batas. Nangako ako na free universal health care, pirmado ko na ang batas. Ano pa naman gusto? Iyong Pantawid, sabi ko itutuloy ko. Saan kukunin ‘yan? Nandiyan sa TRAIN lahat ‘yan,” he added.

He said Congress did not give him the emergency powers on EDSA for fear of corruption.

“Ako naman sabi ko, hindi ko sinabing walang bidding. I said I would need money to repair or rehabilitate or do away with the present situation. Sabi ng iba, mga congressmen, ‘Let us give Duterte the power, extraordinary power.’ Hindi ninyo narinig ‘yun sa bunganga ko ni minsan, kasi alam ko. Kasi alam ko,” Duterte said.

“So  anong narinig ko sa — sa Congress? Hindi sila. ‘Ah, hindi pwede ‘to baka, you know, ang graft and corruption papasok dito.’ Eh sabi ko nung narinig ko — hindi, it’s off. Take away it from the table. Ayaw ko. Sa umpisa walang nag… Kung nag-iistorya ka ng corruption, ay p***** i**, inyo na ‘yan,” he said.
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