Around P2.4 billion in 2012, P3.5 billion today, and P5.4 billion in 2035.
These figures represent the daily economic losses due to the worsening vehicular traffic in Metro Manila, according to estimates made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
The good news, Jica Chief Representative to the Philippines Susumu Ito said, is these figures will be “drastically reduced,” as the government is taking a step in the right direction with the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) infrastructure program. “As you can see, the traffic cost is P3.5 billion a day in Metro Manila. If we do nothing, it will become P5.4 billion a day in 2035. But with BBB, it will be reduced to P3 billion a day, with additional projects, it will be reduced to P2.4 billion a day,” Ito said this during his presentation in the 36th joint meeting of Philippines and Japan Economic Cooperation Committees at a hotel in Makati City.
These figures are based on the updated Transport Infrastructure Road Map targeted to be finalized by April, as it still needs the approval of the National Economic and development Authority (Neda).
Ito added that there is a continuing trend of rapid urbanization, and that the population in Metro Manila, including Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite (BLRC), or also known as Mega Manila, will increase to 38 million by 2035.
“So Mega Manila will be larger. It will be one of the largest [mega] cities in the world. Second, Metro Manila will be more congested, while BLRC will see more rapid growth,” he said. The current road map approved by the Neda in 2014 was also created with the then-Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Public Works and Highways to develop Metro Manila to reduce traffic congestion and improve the mass rapid transit for the benefit of the commuting public.
Jica previously said the road map will result in vehicle operating cost and travel time savings worth P4 billion per day, or P1.2 trillion a year. It will also reduce public-transport fares to P24 from P42, and reduce trail time to 31 minutes from 80 minutes.
The road map aims to remove traffic congestion in Mega Manila; remove households living in high hazard risk areas; remove barriers that prevent seamless mobility; remove excessive transport cost burden for low-income groups and remove air pollution.
Greenhouse-gas emissions will also be reduced by 10,233 per day and provide the government additional revenues from tolls and fares equivalent to P397 million a day, or P119 billion a year.
Under the BBB infrastructure program, the government aims to roll out 75 infrastructure flagship projects.
It will also ramp up infrastructure spending from 5.4 percent of GDP in 2017 to about 7.3 percent of GDP in 2022, translating to P8.1 trillion over the medium term.
These flagship projects include 12 Pasig River, Marikina River and Manggahan floodway bridges; Panguil Bay Bridge; New Bohol airport; Mindanao Rail Project (Phase 1)-Tagum Davao Digos segment; Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase 1), MRT-LRT Common Station and the PNR South Long Haul.