Erap starts clearing roads leading to major seaports

The Daily Tribune| Written by; Tribune Wires| September 07, 2016

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has started clearing roads leading to the Port of Manila in a determined effort to relieve port and traffic congestion and spur more economic growth for the country.

Yesterday morning, Estrada led the clearing of the access road of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) in Tondo that for years has been clogged with hundreds of kuligligs (motorized pedicabs) and countless number of shanties and illegal structures.

Estrada personally supervised members of Task Force Manila Cleanup in removing and impounding hundreds of parked kuligligs and tearing down makeshift stalls and shanties and hauling away debris and trash along the 1.1-kilometer long road.

“These obstructions are the cause of the perpetual traffic jam leading to and from our ports and have been hampering the efficient operation of the major seaports, particularly MICT,” Estrada said.

“We have to clear this access road to open an unimpeded path for thousands of container trucks going to and leaving the container terminal and relieve congestion along R-10 and Bonifacio Drive all the way to Roxas Boulevard,” he added.

Estrada said owners of the motorized pedicabs have taken the road for themselves as their garage and repair depot, causing horrendous traffic jams.

“Ito’y binigyan natin ng prayoridad dahil dito dumadaan mga malalaking (container) truck,” Estrada said.

With the roadways to Port of Manila cleared of obstructions, Estrada added this will benefit not only the city of Manila but the entire country as well because of the unimpeded cargo-handling operations at the ports which bring millions of revenues for the national government and employment and economic opportunities for thousands of Filipinos.

Operated by International Container Terminal Services Inc., MICT is one of Asia’s major seaports and the Philippine’s largest international container terminal in terms of volume and capacity, capturing 65 percent market share in the Port of Manila.

In 2011, MICT ranked 38th  on the list of the world’s busiest ports with container traffic of 3,260,000. It is located between the Manila North Harbor and the Manila South Harbor and can be accessed by road through the MICT South Access Road.

Dennis Alcoreza, head of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB), said the MICT South Access Road is supposed to be a three-lane road but was reduced to only one lane because of the obstructions that have occupied its road space and sidewalks.

“One lane na lang. Three lanes dapat, na-encroached na ng mga vendors at kung anu-anong construction, mga kuliglig, at iba pa,” he said. “If we’d be able to remove all these, surely traffic flow, especially those of the container trucks going in and out of MICT, will improve.”

During rush hours, Alcoreza said the tail end of traffic reaches as far back as R-10 and Anda Circle along Bonifacio Drive and up to Padre Burgos Avenue.

After the clearing, the MTPB chief said they will put up an outpost in the area to prevent the return of the vendors and drivers of the motorized pedicabs.

Raul Venturina, the MICT Community Relations manager, expressed the port

management’s gratitude to Estrada.

He said the clearing of the MICT South Access Road will definitely be a big help in relieving port congestion and ensuring the safety of informal settlers living in the adjacent communities.

“At least 3,000 container trucks pass through this access road 24-hours a day so if this road is opened up again, container traffic will definitely speed up.

And, of course, this is also for the safety of the residents,” Venturina said.

“Malaking bagay na ma-clear ito. Mababawasan na ‘yung delay sa delivery ng mga cargo. Hindi na mata-traffic and, of course, this will contribute to faster economic progress,” he added.