SONA 2021: Commuting, intra-city travel have improved, says President

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by | Jul 26, 2021
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his final State of the Nation Address earlier today. During his speech, he discussed the transport and infrastructure projects that the administration has taken to improve commuting and travel within Metro Manila.

Here’s a summary:

1) Improvement of mass transport in Metro Manila

“We have taken away the misery of public commuting,” said the President.

Duterte emphasized the changes the transport sector has made to improve the notorious MRT-3. He said the train line had been known for numerous breakdowns and occasional unloading of passengers mid-rail, but now, it no longer unloads passengers anywhere other than their destinations.

“The waiting time between trains had been significantly reduced,” he added. “From 10 trains running at only 30kph before, now, the MRT runs 23 trains at 60kph.”

The President also mentioned the completion of the LRT-2 East Extension. According to him, the addition of the Recto and Antipolo stations have helped reduce travel time between Metro Manila and Antipolo “from the usual two to three hours to only just 40 minutes.”

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2) Inauguration of new roads and bridges

Duterte cited the completion of the Skyway Stage 3 earlier this year: “Thanks to our partnership with the private sector, we are able to open Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway in January this year. This decongested EDSA and other major roads in Metro Manila.”

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The President also mentioned the inauguration of the Kalayaan Bridge last month, a key piece in the BGC–Ortigas Center Link Project that the government expects will reduce travel time between the two business districts from one hour to just 12 minutes.

3) Completion of infrastructure projects within last year of presidency

“We have inaugurated new highways, roads, and skyways; we have bought new trains. And there’s our testament that we have greatly eased the grueling experience of traveling and commuting,” Duterte said.

As for his plans for remaining infra projects, Duterte said he has directed several concerned agencies including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Finance (DOF), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) “to be on full speed to ensure that our flagship projects will be completed within my term, especially those that could help disperse economic activity outside of the densely populated Metro Manila.”

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4) Longer driver’s license validity

In addition, Duterte talked about how the current administration was able to clear the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) massive backlog of driver’s licenses as well as extend the validity of new licenses.

“We have also gone beyond merely addressing the three-million backlog of driver’s licenses in 2016,” he said. “We also extended, for the new cards, the validity of the driver’s license to five years, and [additionally], we shall begin the issuance of driver’s licenses which will be good for 10 years if there is no traffic violation.”

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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