Philippine Daily Inquirer

FIRST ‘TOWN HALL’ MEET TURNS INTO GOVERNMENT INFO BLITZ

- By Melvin Gascon @melvingasc­onINQ —WITH A REPORT FROM JEROME ANING INQ

What was touted on Wednesday as a “town hall meeting” supposedly aimed at finding a cure for Metro Manila’s traffic problem turned into an informatio­n drive on different government agencies’ current projects and programs, with President Marcos prodding other sectors to get involved to come up with a “holistic” solution (See related story on A5).

“What we had wanted to do in conducting this [town hall meeting] is to let all stakeholde­rs know what the government is doing, and how these can be complement­ed by the local government­s, the [public utility vehicle] operators, the traffic enforcers, including law enforcers who are tasked to go after ‘colorum’ (unregister­ed) vehicles,” Mr. Marcos said.

The administra­tion’s first-ever town hall meeting held at the FilOil Ecooil Center in San Juan was attended by several Cabinet members, Metro Manila mayors, business groups and other people’s organizati­ons.

“About 60 percent of the Philippine­s’ economy is coming from and around Metro Manila. So if we are saying that P3.5 billion is lost to traffic daily, that is not a small amount because it affects not only Metro Manila but also the surroundin­g areas,” Mr. Marcos said.

Progress update

He gave an update on the ongoing mass transit projects being taken by the government, including major subway and railway projects, saying there was “no better solution” to traffic congestion than to take commuters out of the roads and into mass transport.

“Please allow me to make this report: the North-South commuter railway project [which will run from] Tutuban [in Manila] to Malolos [in Bulacan] is about 61 percent complete [while] the North-South commuter railway extension project from Malolos to Clark [in Pampanga] is about 56.5 percent complete,” he said.

Mr. Marcos added that the Light Rail Transit line 1 Cavite extension was about 80 percent complete, as well as 41 percent of the Metro Manila subway project, 38 percent of the NorthSouth commuter railway south extension project from Manila to Calamba City, Laguna, and 67 percent of the Unified Grand Central station in Quezon City, which would link three of Metro Manila’s railway systems, including the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.

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