Despite the consistent gridlock traffic and taking nearly 4 hours in his commute challenge, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo still insists that there is no transport crisis in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, in Cebu, the Provincial Board (PB) has acknowledged the worsening traffic issue and has declared a ‘traffic crisis’ in the province.

According to PB member Glenn Anthony Soco of the sixth district of Cebu, who cited a report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), heavy traffic in Cebu leads to around Php 1.1 billion losses in 2018. He added that the region could experience further losses in the next few years if the traffic issue is not addressed immediately.

While there are projects already underway to boost traffic decongestion efforts in the area, Soco says that these projects have been moving very slowly. He also cited numerous examples of these projects such as the 74-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway from Naga to Danao, which could not be implemented because of budget constraints, and the Guadalupe-to-Lahug Bypass Road, which was proposed 20-years ago.

With the declaration, the Cebu Provincial Board is urging the national government to fast track the proposed infrastructure projects meant to solve traffic congestion in the province. In fact, they want President Rodrigo Duterte to exercise “extra-ordinary power” in order to solve the worsening road congestion in Cebu.

Soco adds that the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) is pushing for the creation of the Metro Cebu Development Authority (MCDA), an agency similar to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). The MCDA will then be handling the traffic and development of metropolitan Cebu similar to the MMDA with Metro Manila. 

“We want to bring the President closer to Cebu. We need him to fast-track proposed solutions to traffic. We have so many solutions that are in the pipeline that could only move through Duterte’s iron-fist,” Soco said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.