posted August 26, 2016 at 12:01 am
Metro Manila—with all the chaos in traffic, crimes mostly associated with drug abuse, and squatters clogging its major waterways—definitely needs an urban redevelopment program.
The expanding economy is actually shaping the capital region into a typical modern metropolis dotted with many skyscrapers. But Metro Manila has not developed into a megalopolis with a lush and green landscape, comparable with Tokyo, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.
Previous government planners did not come up with a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the capital region. Such a plan may have never taken off amid budget constraints, an ineffective Metro Manila Development Authority and the myopic approach of local government executives.
But it is not too late. The current administration can start redeveloping Metro Manila, or at least certain sections of it, in step with the demands of an expanding economy.
The government of President Rodrigo Duterte can start it off with the recommendations of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in addressing the worsening traffic in Metro Manila. Jica has favored the relocation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Manila North Harbor to decongest the capital region.
The transfer of the two major facilities will prompt the government to provide a seamless and integrated transportation system that will require additional roads or a rail network for the affected commuters.
The relocation of the harbor, meanwhile, will provide the capital city of Manila an opportunity to redevelop the 600-hectare waterfront property into a possibly mixed-used project. Manila can also use part of the proceeds from the conversion of the estate to finance a massive low-cost housing program around the Tondo area and partly rid itself of the slums that often depict the city.
An urban renewal program will be a tough job to do, given the the enormous budget needed to implement it and the political divisions within Metro Manila. President Duterte, however, should initiate the process soon if his administration wants to introduce real change as he promised during the campaign season.
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