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Pinoys resurface Mark Villar's 2021 post on making Manila traffic better by 2022: 'Ano po forecast sa 2024?'

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Dec 20, 2023 1:10 pm

The Christmas season usually brings about cheer, but the days leading up to the 25th also bring dread because of the endless holiday traffic.

With all of the events and activities around this time of year, traveling through much of Metro Manila has become an agonizing experience. The plethora of brake lights on the road turns the normally festive red light display into something more like a horror show.

For instance, the ongoing nationwide transport strike until December 29 made commuting a challenge for everyone who relies on PUVs to travel to and from their workplaces, not to mention the expected high volume of vehicles on the road as people flock to different areas for Christmas-related activities. 

With all of these yuletide woes, some Filipinos have brought up a post from former secretary of Public Works and Highways, Mark Villar, who promised to fix Metro Manila’s major traffic issues by 2022.

"By 2022, Metro Manila traffic will never be the same. Every city in Metro Manila will be connected within a 20 to 30 min time frame," he wrote in the caption during that time alongside a photo of a clear and movable highway.

In case you didn't know, the then-DPWH chief also previously made a series of posts about the EDSA Decongestion Program dated June 11 and September 24, 2021.

According to Villar, the EDSA Decongestion Masterplan will divert at least 150,000 vehicles away from EDSA, C5, and other major thoroughfares using alternative routes, including Skyway Stage-3, BGC Ortigas Center lane, Estrella-Pantaleon bridge, and Binondo-Intramuros bridge so that "every city in Metro Manila will be connected within a 20 to 30-minute time frame."

'Traffic has become worse'

Some internet users have now called Villar out for his promise, which has still yet to materialize as we approach 2024.

"Oh yung mga nagcomment dito na 'huwag na tayo maghilaan pababa ineme' kamusta po byahe niyo sa EDSA?? Lumuwag ba?! HAHAHA this is actually one of the biggest budol of the past Admin," one social media user wrote.

"True indeed! Manila traffic has never been the same - mas malala!" another one commented.

Others ironically joke about his famous election tagline, "Si Mark, tahimik lang."

“Mars, ano na balita dito??? Mas lumala pa. Dapat kasi nanahimik na lang, Mars. Eme.”

"Pakigalaw ang baso," users said.

Miss Trans Global 2020, Mela Habijan also took note of the old post and commented: “Now, we are nearing the end of 2023. Metro Manila traffic has become worse.”

“Singilin natin ang mga pangako ng public servants. Because unfulfilled public service-related declarations and promises are a reflection of one’s leadership. #NasaanAngBagongPilipinas,” she added.

Villar, now a senator, previously defended his claim in 2022, saying what is more important is the "improvement" that every Filipino sees in the traffic scheme in the country. 

“Hindi ko naman sinasabi na kayang tapusin ‘yung traffic sa Metro Manila in a few years. But definitely, ang importante, magkaroon tayo ng malaking improvement over the next few years," he said at the time.

“It would take more than just one project. Many projects. Pero importante lang, tuloy-tuloy ‘yung momentum," he added.

Holiday woes

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) issued a traffic advisory earlier this month, alerting the public to the possibility of worsening traffic conditions as Christmas Day draws near.

Romando Artes, the acting chairman of the MMDA, earlier stated that after putting certain safeguards in place, the traffic authority is convinced that its personnel could handle traffic on important highways. This also includes establishing a "strike force" to expedite the apprehension of traffic violators.

“We are sure we can manage traffic; we can manage that Metro Manila will not turn into a parking lot,” he said.

The MMDA said on Dec. 18 that vehicle volume in the metro has increased by 10,000 to 15,000 in the past two weeks during rush hour.