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Belmonte warns: Traffic will get worse before it will get better

MANILA, Philippines – No pain, no gain. 

This was the sentiment of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on the upcoming simultaneous constructions that would be taking place around the metropolis, in line with the administration's Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

While talking about traffic solutions during the 2019 Manila Social Good Summit panel on making metro areas more livable, Belmonte said that 4 of the main infrastructure projects to be built under the current administration's flagship economic program will be constructed in Quezon City.

These projects include 12 of 14 Metro Rail Transit stations; 7 of 15 Metro Manila Subway stations; segment 8.2 which will connect C-5 to NLEX; and a Skyway connecting NLEX to SLEX. 

"And because the president is rushing, he would like these BBB projects to [be finished] before his term ends. Which means, for us in QC at least, and possibly also in Manila, that all of these construction projects will be taking place at the same time," Belmonte said. 

She said that to try to prevent this dire situation, the city government talked to the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways. However, the two agencies said that their hands were tied because these were the plans of the President.

Thus, she set up Task Force "Address Build, Build, Build," which aimed to relocate the 18,000 informal settler families that would be displaced by road construction.

She also said that they have told the public to adjust their lifestyles because the simultaneous constructions in Quezon City would even worsen the traffic.

They told the public that the short-term sarifices would result to better traffic flow in the long-term.

In that same panel, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said that people have to accept these inconveniences. He said they must adapt and hope that the government would fulfill its promises. Or else, "crucify them in the next elections."

In the past, Belmonte outlined sustainability plans to make sure roads remained free of obstructions, such as using 'No Contact Traffic Apprehension' policy and possibly opening up more routes. – Rappler.com

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.

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