Population density, not traffic, is Metro Manila’s real problem
The 19.3-kilometer Pasig River Expressway (PAREx) has drawn flak from environmental and cultural groups who believe many cultural sites will be jarred by the construction of the elevated highway, thereby endangering historical sites such as Intramuros, Fort Santiago, Arroceros Park, and many others. Worse, it will suffocate the fauna of the Pasig River.
The positions of both sides appear to stand on valid arguments. Scores of projects have been undertaken to rehabilitate the Pasig River, both by civic organizations and the government. Yet, the silt deposited on the river is a continuing problem, aside from the negligence of the communities around it. The river also catches floodwater and debris from Laguna de Bay. It seems in our society one problem engenders another, and we cannot get to the bottom of it all.
There has to be a more lasting heritage solution, not just to the traffic congestion or the environmental pollution. The reality is that the Philippines has a much bigger problem in the unabated population increase of 1.5-2 million annually. Urban life in Metro Manila will continue to be compromised by the influx of more people from the provinces to find work and escape extreme poverty. Among the cities with the highest population densities in the world are Manila, Pateros, and Mandaluyong.
Congestion will suffocate the entire Metro Manila soon. It can only be arrested by the government developing other less congested areas in the country to move work opportunities there, such as vast Mindanao.
Marvel K. Tan, [email protected]
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