MANILA, Philippines - At the rate the traffic situation is getting worse, Metro Manila may become “uninhabitable” within four years, an official of a foreign chamber said yesterday.
John Forbes, senior advisor of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, told The STAR that if roads and other infrastructure are not upgraded immediately, the traffic mess in the metropolis would likely worsen on the back of the country’s fast-developing automotive industry.
“Metro Manila is at risk of becoming uninhabitable as annual new car growth increases to 500,000 by 2020,” Forbes said. “While roads are being improved throughout the country, the National Capital Region urgently needs more limited access roads, especially skyways, and rail.”
The Philippines is seen as an important automotive market growth area in the region as the volume of vehicles sold is expected to surge.
Domestic vehicle sales in 2020 would account to between eight to 10 percent of the projected total sales of five to six million units within member economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. From 168,000 units sold in 2010, vehicle sales in the country reached 269,000 units in 2014 and are expected to surpass industry target of 310,000 units in 2015, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI). This year, CAMPI sees vehicle sales reaching a new high of 350,000 units, on its way to 500,000 units by 2020. Aside from access roads, Forbes said the new airport terminal in Clark should be built in the next two years with a non-stop fast train connector similar to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Tokyo to improve traffic congestion.