By Darryl John Esguerra

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants to employ a “comprehensive, holistic” approach in addressing traffic congestion in the country, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsernio Balisacan said Thursday.

In a Palace press briefing, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Marcos and the Cabinet had a “very long discussion” on the traffic issue during the 16th Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday.

The President asked members of his Cabinet to submit their recommendations on how to ease commuters’ woes and how their respective offices will “adjust and configure their work environment.”

To ultimately alleviate traffic problems that impede national and economic development, Balisacan said Marcos seeks a concerted effort to upgrade the nation’s public transportation system.

He added that the President sees the problem on a bigger picture, stressing the need to improve the interconnectivity of different transport systems.

“What the President really wants is a comprehensive, holistic approach to solving the traffic problem, hindi ‘yung (not a) piecemeal approach as has been the case all these years,” Balisacan said.

The government is presently undertaking the North-South Commuter Railway, a 147-kilometer railway line connecting Metro Manila to the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Laguna; and the Central Luzon Expressway connecting the North Luzon Expressway to the Subic-Clark Expressway.

Also in the pipeline is the landmark Subic-Clark Railway Project connecting the Port of Subic and Clark International Airport and the Metro Manila Subway project connecting the cities of Valenzuela to Parañaque.

But Balisacan said these big ticket infrastructure projects aimed at easing traffic congestion should be “seen in the context of all the other transport system including the bike lanes, motorcycle lanes” as well as the location of industries and residences.

“So (it should be) the whole system, it cannot be seen on a piecemeal basis because if there’s a chokepoint on one (aspect or area), it affects the whole system that’s why we look at it as a system. And that’s the direction of the President,” he added. (PNA)