MMDA: AFTER A YEAR, MANILA A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE

Metro Manila, July 17, 2003 By Nikko Dizon (Star) Metro Manila is a better place to live in than it was a year ago, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando said yesterday.

According to Fernando, Metro Manila is 50 percent cleaner, travel time on EDSA and other major thoroughfares is faster, and the agency’s flood control program has reduced the number of flooded areas and the extent of floodings in these areas.

The MMDA’s Health Operations Center regularly monitors the garbage situation in the metropolis and Fernando based his pronouncement on the results of the center’s studies.

However, the 50 percent figure he qouted to assess the improvement, Fernando said, was based on his personal observation and "gut feel."

Since he tookover the MMDA in June last year, Fernando said the agency’s programs have helped "uplift the standard of living" in Metro Manila.

"We made models of the roads that we cleaned up. We removed everything that’s chaotic in the streets," Fernando told reporters.

However, Fernando admitted that it will take another 10 years to completely clean up Metro Manila and transform the metropolis into a highly-urbanized place such as Singapore.

"The next 50 percent would be more difficult because we have to break old habits and that takes time," Fernando said.

While Fernando gave the local government units for the improved cleanliness in Metro Manila, he also said that the MMDA has "not really received support from the LGUs."

Fernando was appointed MMDA chairman in June last year by President Arroyo who ordered him to solve Metro Manila’s pressing garbage, traffic, and flooding problems.

From an average of 14 kms an hour, travel speed on major thoroughfares has improved to 24 kms an hour, Fernando said.

Fernando said the improvement in traffic can be attributed to the MMDA’s relentless clearing of roadways, such as removing illegal sidewalk vendors, and the "geometric improvements" on the roads.

Fernando said the MMDA still wants to see another 10 percent improvement in its flood control program.

Last May, at the height of Typhoon Chedeng, the MMDA said flooding has been reduced by at least 50 percent because it has successfully cleared several waterways.

However, the MMDA also complained that people continued to throw garbage in the streets, which clogged the waterways that the agency has already cleaned up.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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