VERA FILES FACT CHECK: MMDA Spox Celine Pialago wrongly claims no gov’t efforts to solve Metro Manila traffic in past 40 years

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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago is wrong in saying the government has not built any infrastructure or made any effort to solve the traffic congestion in Metro Manila in the past 40 years. MMDA in itself was established 24 years ago to address that.

STATEMENT

In an “open letter” posted Aug. 15 on her official Facebook page, Pialogo addressed public officials who criticized MMDA’s strict implementation of the yellow lane policy along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), which caused gridlock and affected hundreds of commuters in its first weeks of implementation.

She said:

Wala naman tayong ginawa (We did not do anything) for 40 years [especially] in terms of traffic management and infrastructure...Cars keep on multiplying while roads are (sic) not. Sa mga nagmamagaling, iba noon, iba ngayon (To those criticizing, the situation before is different compared to now).”

Source: Celine Pialago official Facebook page, Mukang uulitin ko ulit ang aking open letter, Aug. 15, 2019

FACT

Pialago is wrong. The MMDA itself -- the agency she represents -- was established in 1995, to address Metro Manila’s “transport and traffic management” concerns, among others.

Under Republic Act 7924, signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos, the MMDA’s tasks include:

“formulation, coordination and monitoring of policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares, and promotions of safe and convenient movement of persons and goods.”

The “provision for the mass transport system,” creation of a regulation system for road users, and implementation of traffic education programs are also part of the MMDA’s mandate.

The three transit systems in Metro Manila -- all of which are intended to provide alternative means of transportation to lessen traffic congestion -- that carry hundreds of thousands of passengers daily, began operations between 1984 and 2003, belying Pialago’s claim of 40 years of government nonperformance.

Here are some of the more known projects the government has done over the years to address traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

The Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3), a rapid transit system that runs along EDSA, started full operations in 2000 under the administration of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Designed to carry at least 23,000 passengers per hour per direction, the MRT-3 is “the cornerstone of the Department of Transportation & Communication's (now Department of Transportation or DOTr) integrated strategy to alleviate the chronic traffic congestion experience along the EDSA corridor,” according to its website.

Prior to the construction of MRT-3, the Light Rail Transit System Line 1 (LRT-1), running in an east-west direction from Roosevelt to Baclaran, began operations in 1984 during the term of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The LRT-1 links the cities of Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, and Parañaque.

Nineteen years later, during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003, the LRT System Line 2 (LRT-2), generally running in an east-west direction traversing to five cities in Metro Manila namely Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City, San Juan and Manila, opened to the public.

LRT lines 1 and 2 are operated by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), a government-owned and -controlled corporation attached to the Department of Transportation.

The Ortigas Interchange, also known as the EDSA-Ortigas Interchange or the Ortigas Flyover, was built during the time of former President Corazon Aquino. Located at the boundary between Mandaluyong and Quezon City, it first opened in December 1991, according to a Manila Standard report that same year. (See Gadon claim on Cory infra false by the University of the Philippines Journalism Department for Tsek.ph)

Introduced in 2015, the Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) Bus Service, an initiative by the DOTr, has been offering commuters “another reliable and safe mode of transport and help reduce the traffic volume in Metro Manila and beyond,” according to its website.

As of September 2019, the P2P bus service runs 43 routes across 56 stops in Metro Manila and nearby suburbs.


Sources

Celine Pialago official Facebook page, Mukang uulitin ko ulit ang aking open letter, Aug. 15, 2019

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Republic Act 7924

Department of Transportation and Communication - Metro Rail Transit System Line 3, About

Department of Transportation - Light Rail Transit Authority, About Us

Official Gazette, Executive Order 603

Tsek.ph, Gadon claims on Cory infra false, April 3, 2019

Malacanang.gov.ph, The AQUINO MANAGEMENT Of The PRESIDENCY

Official website, Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) Bus Service


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


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