NEDA identifies projects to ease NCR traffic

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Duterte administration identified on Tuesday projects to ease Metro Manila's traffic congestion. Even though Congress has not yet granted President Rodrigo Duterte with emergency powers to address the issue, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) vows to have these projects approved soon.

The said projects have been in the pipeline for a while now, and the Duterte administration is bent on seeing them finally push through.

For example, the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit Project is one of the projects that could start soon. It plans to decongest traffic through dedicated lanes for public buses in EDSA.

The project is up for final approval in the NEDA Board next month.

Chaired by President, that meeting will tackle 10 projects costing a total of ₱320 billion.

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NEDA also hopes to see the approval of at least two more projects aimed to ease traffic in Metro Manila by the end of 2016 — a common station for the MRT-3, LRT-1 and MRT-7 and the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Link Bridge which is expected to divert 25 percent of traffic on EDSA.

"That is an additional bridge to what we have now on the east side of Metro Manila, there's a bridge there — C5. So we need another one there to add road space, NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

NEDA also wants to finally see the construction of a subway in Metro Manila, a project which has long been proposed. The proposed subway, which initially costs ₱374.5 billion, will connect the cities of Makati, Pasay and Taguig.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is willing to help finance the project.

"We just need to choose which of three possible alignments should be," Pernia said.

Most of these projects were carried over from the previous administration. The Duterte Cabinet is hopeful it will finally get the projects moving.

They expect their proposed emergency powers to address delays experienced in the past, mostly on procurement and right of way issues.

But even if the emergency powers don't come right away, Pernia said there would be no let up in their efforts to get these projects approved.

"Even without the emergency power, we're going to work on, we're going to make sure that work on major infrastructure projects will be round the clock, 24/7, no let up," he said.