Duterte gives up on EDSA, says he needs emergency powers to solve traffic problem

EDSA traffic. (Photo: ABS-CBN News)
EDSA traffic. (Photo: ABS-CBN News)

It looks like we’ll be stuck with EDSA’s massive traffic for the next couple of years because Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday to just let EDSA stay the same for another 20 years.

Uhh, no-can-do’s-ville, dear president. That’s not going to sit well with drivers and commuters who use the metro’s busiest thoroughfare daily.

The president insisted in a speech in Malacañang yesterday that he needed emergency powers to solve the traffic woes on the metro’s busiest thoroughfare, Manila Bulletin reported.

However, he added that some members of Congress are suspicious that he might use his powers for corrupt activities.

“There’s always the hanging suspicion that I’m there for the money. Then don’t [trust me]. We can’t do anything about it,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino, CNN Philippines reported.

“Let EDSA remain as it is for the next 20 years. Don’t bother,” he added.

Well, he sure gives up fast.

“I told you before that I’ll try [to address EDSA’s traffic woes]. What I asked before is to be given emergency powers. Emergency power means you can simply buy anything without bidding. And it was given to [former Presidents Ferdinand] Marcos and Cory [Aquino] during their time,” Duterte was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“I cannot repair it (EDSA) with saliva. I need to spend, I need to have money,” he added.

Hopefully, this is just one of the president’s statements that should not be taken literally because Filipinos are counting on him to make a real change in the metro’s traffic.

Efforts to improve traffic on EDSA have not been successful.

Last month, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) conducted a weeklong trial for the driver-only ban on EDSA, which was met with major backlash from netizens and lawmakers alike.

The highway is traversed by more than 300,000 vehicles daily. Traffic got so bad that this woman tried bypassing congested streets by taking a boat in Pasig River — which worked out pretty well for her.

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