SENATOR Grace Poe raised an alarm over the “dehumanizing traffic situation” in Metro Manila on Tuesday, saying it is no longer a road-use efficiency problem but a public health issue as a result of the physical and emotional stress that the commuters suffer daily as a result of it.
“The situation is alarming; it is no longer just a traffic problem but a serious public health issue as it affects our quality of life,” said Poe who is running for President next year.
“Suffering like this every single day will take a toll on the physical and emotional well-being of our constituents,” she said.
Poe and Senator Francis Escudero are set to file their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections in Intramuros, Manila, on Thursday.
They were the first tandem to announce their presidential and vice presidential bids, respectively, in the 2016 elections, and are the front runners in the pre-election surveys.
Poe said she had been monitoring the reports of people being stranded on the road for hours, wading in flooded streets, or standing inside packed buses on the way home and facing the same hurdles on the way to work the following day.
Poe, who leads the Senate sub-committee on public transportation, urged local government units to look at the big picture in approaching the problem.
“Beyond managing the traffic on the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila, we have to look at the big picture as well and part of the big picture is the need to have an intelligent plan for urban development,” Poe said.
Local government units should also look at how they could mitigate flooding, manage solid waste, and ensure that people knew and followed disaster preparedness protocols, Poe said.
A master plan for the development of Metro Manila should have the commitment of LGUs not only in the Greater Manila Area but also in Central and Southern Luzon.
Metro Manila has a population of 11.5 million, but adding to it the urban areas of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas and Laguna brings the total to 24 million.
“Traffic and transportation in Metro Manila is really a people issue,” Poe said.
“It begins with us and ends with us. We have to work together if we want to make Metro Manila more livable,” she said.