DPWH Director for Planning Service Melvin Navarro revealed that per the DPWH’ Metro Manila Urban Transport Integration Study (MMUTIS), Metro Manila’s traffic speed is now among the worse in Asia. Traffic in Manila moves at an average of 10 kilometer per hour at peak hours which is slightly faster than Bangkok and but 20 kilometers slower than Singapore with most other major Asian cities with speeds in between. EDSA, Ortigas Avenue, Shaw Boulevard and Roxas Boulevard are the areas most affected.
Navarro says that the sexy billboards add to the traffic slow down. “It will lessen travel speed because people slow down to get a good view of the sexually explicit billboards. There is a co-relation between the travel speed and the sexy billboards,”; Navarro alleged. Navarro said that he too gets distracted by a huge billboard of an alcohol company in EDSA where a girl with an “Egyptian two-piece attire” and “enhanced breast” beckons to motorists to give her a glance. “It’s so huge, you can’t help but look and in the thick of traffic, a split-second distraction can mean slow-down, if not accident,” he said.
Philippines Department of Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebane Jr. has already asked outside advertisers to remove sexy billboards. “They themselves know that some of these billboards are sexually suggestive. They (outdoor advertisers) should voluntarily remove these billboards,” said Ebdane, who admits that he too gets distracted by the sexy billboards. Earlier, Ebdane ordered Undersecretary Rafael Yabut to speed up the dismantling of illegal, unsafe and sexy billboards. Several billboard operators pulled down 20 of 37 billboards displaying indecent and immoral contents, but some of the sexually explicit billboards have remained.
It seems that potholes, non synchronized traffic lights and buses that weave and cut you off have no influence on the speed of traffic in Metropolitan Manila. In the next few weeks after the incriminated billboards are removed shall we see an increase in traffic speeds? Or, will the DPWH issue another statement giving a different reason for the worsening traffic situation.