MMDA eyes radical changes in the metro

Jonathan de Santos
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

To develop Metro Manila, it may be necessary for the city to move out.

Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino said Friday that to make a better Metro Manila, there must be radical changes, which might include relocating the seaport to Batangas.

The old seaport space could then house a new Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Speaking before the Philippine Tour Operators Association, Tolentino said Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan have airports by the sea. "It's only here where the airport is inside a subdivision," he said.

In a related development, Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II said over DZMM on Friday that air operations may also have to be moved to Clark in Angeles because the runways in NAIA are congested.

Clearing the seaport will also remove container vans and large trucks in the port and San Marcelino areas, Tolentino said.

However, to execute such a plan and to extend planned Roxas Boulevard all the way to Navotas, require a large-scale relocation of residents, he said.

Metro Manila will also have to expand to parts of Rizal, Bulacan, and Laguna, he said.

A six-lane Skybridge from Quezon City to Makati is also being eyed. Tolentino said the Skybridge is expected to reduce 40 percent of traffic from Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue.

A planned extension of train lines to Cavite and Antipolo is also expected to decongest Metro Manila, which has around 14 million residents.

He said these proposals are part of Metro Manila Greenprint 2030, a long-term development plan that seeks to raise the standard of living in the metropolis.

Greenprint is currently being formulated and a final development plan is expected by June next year.

"The model here is to relocate little by little our government center," he said.

He said the same was done in Malaysia, where government offices were moved to Putrajaya from Kuala Lumpur in 1999. 

Brazil also founded Brasilia in the 1960s to replace Rio De Janeiro as the capital.

"We can retain the current spaces for heritage, residential, and mixed-use purposes," he said, but Manila has to move away from the center.