Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian lauded the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for approving new infrastructure projects, including the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) amid the nearing sunset of the Aquino administration.
“In behalf of the Filipino people, we thank NEDA and President Aquino, who chairs the Board, for approving infrastructure projects that will benefit the current and future generations,” said Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
The NEDA Board last week approved new infrastructure projects on transportation, as well as projects on agribusiness financing, improvement of prison facilities, and marine environment monitoring.
Gatchalian especially praised the NEDA Board for authorizing the three transportation projects, namely: the Manila-Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit, the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road Project, and the four-lane toll road linking NLEX and SLEX.
“Such projects will enhance the country’s transportation system and make the movement of goods and people faster, more efficient, and with less costs,” said Gatchalian.
“Inclusive economic growth is simply impossible without an enhanced transportation system that will help people get to their workplaces and products and services to be transferred at the shortest amount of time at the least cost,” the Valenzuela City lawmaker added.
Gatchalian pointed out that residents of Metro Manila as well as nearby areas can finally look forward to some relief because of these newly approved transportation projects.
“The worsening traffic is not a sure sign at all of inclusive growth but of mismanagement of the country’s transportation system and the failure to control the number of cars plying our thoroughfares,” he said.
Gatchalian, who was a three-term chief executive of the now-booming Valenzuela City, has previously filed House Resolution No. 2399 to probe into the urgent implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along Metro Manila’s major roads amid the rising costs of heavy traffic on the economy and the environment.
The legislator moved for the speedy implementation of BRTs, saying it will help ease commuter’s woes as well as decongest heavy traffic in Metro Manila key thoroughfares.
“BRTs in Metro Manila will allow faster and more efficient mass public travel and improved traffic flow as it is expected to reduce private car use because of the availability of an efficient alternative, thereby relieving traffic congestion of streets,” Gatchalian said in his resolution.
The NPC senatorial bet added: “BRTs are expected to utilize exclusive right-of-way lanes, promote efficient boarding and alighting of passengers, institute pre-board fare collection and high quality buses which shall attract more urban dwellers to commute via public transport.”
Gatchalian said it was during the time of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando that a BRT system in Metro Manila was first planned in anticipation of the possible traffic congestion in EDSA as early as 2009.
In 2008, Chairman Fernando and Gatchalian, in his capacity as then Valenzuela City mayor, personally observed the Transmilenio BRT system in Bogota, Colombia, whose success inspired many cities to build their own BRTs.
Gatchalian pointed out that having such an alternative system is crucial as road congestion already costs Asian economies around two to five percent of their GDP yearly because of lost time and higher transport costs, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). (Monica Cantilero)