Press Release
September 9, 2014

Cayetano: Pour more funds outside Metro Manila

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter "Companero" S. Cayetano is pushing for a massive infusion of government resources and infrastructure funds into the development of regions outside Metro Manila as a way to address the congestion problem in the National Capital Region (NCR).

"This has been the answer that was given to us: the way to solve congestion in Metro Manila is to build, build, and build; more, more, and more. That is what makes it ridiculous. If you have a house na punong puno na, ang tama bang sagot ay hatiin ang kwarto? Hindi ba ang solusyon is to buy another house o palakihin mo ang lote mo?" he said.

Stressing that billions of pesos are being lost due to traffic in NCR every day, Cayetano noted that the NCR-centric policy of the government is the primary reason why Metro Manila is already congested and why other regions in the country continue to experience slow development.

"There are 19,137 Filipinos per square kilometer in Metro Manila, ganoon kadami ang tao dito. Ang pinakamalapit nang bilang ay sa Calabarzon, which only has 758 people per The rest, ang average is around 300 per Karamihan nasa Metro Manila na," he said.

"The solution to decongesting Metro Manila ay hindi ang pinapakita sa telebisyon na mga bagong kalye, bagong skyway. Hindi yun ang solusyon. Lalo lang sisikip ang NCR. Ang solusyon ay gawin ang mga projects na yan sa labas ng Metro Manila," he added.

Citing data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI), Cayetano noted that around 230,000 to 250,000 vehicles will be purchased in the country next year, 58 percent of which will be filling up the already-congested streets of Metro Manila.

"100,000 new cars entered this year in Metro Manila. Add the 100,00 next year, for a total of 2.2 million vehicles in Metro Manila every year na gumagala, kaya traffic. Hindi dahil sa [provincial] buses kung hindi sa dami ng sasakyan. So how would we get inclusive growth? Bakit kasi sa Metro Manila lang?" he quipped.

Cayetano suggested that a more feasible solution to decongest NCR is to allot more funds for infrastructure programs in other regions to encourage people to consider looking for employment opportunities and moving in to cities outside the capital region.

He also lamented that many Filipino families are robbed of opportunities because the biggest chunk of the national budget pie is allocated to NCR.

In 2013 alone, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved P184.2 billion worth of 10 major infrastructure projects, eight of which are located in NCR. The two other projects are the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project worth P24.4 billion and Mactan Cebu International Airport Expansion at P17.5 billion.

Cayetano said this stresses the need for government to promote a more inclusive economic plan that will allow the implementation of a specific economic strategy for each of the 17 regions.

"There is no one cure, there is no one-size-fits-all. Kapag nag-economic planning tayo, dapat may national vision; may coherent policy. Pero dapat may 17 regional strategies kung saan ang bawat region ay may strategy at mabibigyan ng pera," he said.

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