Duterte's Metro Manila traffic solution? Reclaim public roads

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has a new traffic solution for Metro Manila: reclaim public roads.

"My request, my pleading to the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) and all concerned local officials in Metro Manila to undertake immediate action to ensure smooth flow of traffic…Reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends," Duterte said in his 4th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 22.

The plea immediately turned into a threat after he addressed Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to suspend mayors who do not go along with the plan.

"If there is a mayor or governor, kung sino kang demonyo ka, i-suspend mo (whoever demon he is, suspend him). Give him time, and if he cannot...isuspend mo na lang, wala tayong magawa (just suspend him, we cannot do anything)," Duterte said.

Duterte was referring to public roads which have been closed down for constituents supposedly favored by local government officials. This could come in the form of allowing illegal vendors occupying the street and blocking the passage of citizens without the permission of the government.

These problems could be solved through road-clearing operations, which are usually headed by the MMDA.

The idea comes a month after Duterte remarked that he wanted to make the 12.8-kilometer trip between Makati and Quezon City possible in 5 minutes, an idea which would only be possible if a driver broke speed limits. – Rappler.com

For highlights of President Duterte’s 4th SONA, check out our live blog.

Rappler takes a deeper look at the first half of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency – its highs and lows, its achievements and shortcomings: 
Duterte Year 3: The Halfway Mark


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.