Manila Bulletin

Erap yearns for mod­ern, Yoko­hama-like Manila

- By CHA­RINA CLARISSE L. ECHALUCE Joseph Estrada · Manila · Yokohama · Japan · Philippines · Yokohama · Metro Manila

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada yesterday openly ad­mit­ted the traf­fic woes in the city and ap­plauded the suc­cess­ful ur­ban­iza­tion pro­gram of Yoko­hama City dur­ing his meet­ing with Mayor Fu­miko Hayashi yesterday.

“How I wish we can in­stall a sim­i­lar public trans­port sys­tem in Manila – with trains and buses that com­ple­ment each other. As it is now in Manila, the buses, trains, jeep­neys and tri­cy­cles com­pete with each other, or com­pletely dis­re­gard each other,” he said.

“Manila re­ally needs ex­pert ad­vice on traf­fic man­age­ment,” added Estrada.

Estrada, who vis­ited Yoko­hama twice dur­ing his term as city mayor, said he mar­veled at how Yoko­hama has trans­formed into a beau­ti­ful and clean port city.

He praised the dis­ci­plined and cour­te­ous man­ner of Yoko­hama of­fi­cials.

“With stronger ties be­tween Yoko­hama and Manila, I hope that Manila will be able to re­gain its for­mer stature as the ‘Pearl of the Ori­ent,’” the Manila mayor stated.

Yoko­hama and Manila have been sis­ter cities since 1965. Yesterday, the may­ors of the two cities signed a doc­u­ment af­firm­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the sis­ter-city re­la­tion­ship.

Like Manila, ac­cord­ing to Estrada, Yoko­hama is a port city where traf­fic is a daily chal­lenge be­cause many peo­ple need to move cargo from place to place.

“We’re too far. They are too mod­ern. We are ask­ing for help, ask­ing ad­vice re­gard­ing what they did in Yoko­hama. They are re­ally ad­vanced. We can­not deny that,” he said.

“That’s why we are ask­ing for help for us to be able to do what they did to their city here. Traf­fic is not Manila’s prob­lem only, but the prob­lem of the whole Metro Manila as well,” he added.

Hayashi said Yoko­hama is very much will­ing to help Manila when it comes to fix­ing the traf­fic prob­lems and im­prov­ing the trans­port sys­tem.

“In the ex­pe­ri­ence of Ja­pan is we en­forced that the public trans­porta­tion sys­tem should be de­vel­oped. Maybe that ex­pe­ri­ence can be shared with the Philip­pines to help solve the prob­lem,” Hayashi said.

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