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Mar links road, air traffic problems to booming economy

As far as Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is concerned, the traffic problem in major roads could be an effect of the country's booming economy.

During the annual national convention of the Philippine Sugar Technologists Association Inc. (Philsutech) in Cebu on Wednesday, Roxas noted that 260,000 vehicles were added on the road in 2014.

"This is a problem in a sense that arises from prosperity. Because there is money. Because there is economic activity," he said.

Roxas added: "When I was in DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), 60,000 vehicles a year was a big year. That was about 12 years ago. Today, 260,000 vehicles last year, 300,000 vehicles projected this year, and 10 percent to 15 percent projected into the future."

Roxas, the administration's likely standard bearer in the 2016 elections, served as DTI secretary from 2000 to 2003.

Delayed flights

Roxas also said the oft derided delay in flights could be partly attributed to a boom in domestic tourism, pointing out that last year, 50 million domestic tickets were sold.

"Equivalent to half our population flew on a flight within the Philippines," he said.

The Aquino administration has repeatedly hyped the country's good economic performance as a product of its "Daang Matuwid" (straight path) platform, which seeks to translate good governance in good economics.

This, however, was contested by Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has belittled the platform, claiming it failed to address basic problems like poverty, corruption, and even mass transport woes.

Binay, who leads the opposition party United Nationalist Allianace and who will seek the presidency in 2016, has become a critic of the administration ever since resigning from the Aquino Cabinet in the light of the corruption allegations being leveled against him and his family.

More work

Meanwhile, in the Cebu event, Roxas admitted that more work still need to be done to improve the country's airports, terminals and thoroughfares.

"I mean, yes, we have to invest in our airports. Yes, we have to expand our terminals and so on and so forth," he said, noting the large number of Filipinos—50 million—who traveled within the country last year.

"That one seems unnerving," Roxas said.

He added that capital expenditure of the country tripled over the last five years. When in 2009-2010, the entire capital expenditure amounted to P180 billion, now he said it's P570 billion.

"That’s in the roads, the bridges, airports, ports, that were built all over our country," Roxas said.  —Trisha Macas/KBK, GMA News

Tags: marroxas, economy