House committee wants to decongest Metro Manila by relocating govt. offices

  • The House committee on housing and urban development has created a technical working group tasked to study the proposal of relocating government offices
  • The committee chairman, Rep. Benitez, said the plan could finally solve overpopulation and traffic congestion in the capital
  • The lawmakers also cited similar projects in other countries which have become successful

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on housing and urban development chaired by Rep. Alfredo B. Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental) wants Metro Manila decongested by relocating the seat of government and other offices to the provinces outside the capital.

Benitez, author of House Bill No. 83 for the creation of an Administrative Capital City Planning Commission (ACCPC), said the committee has formed a technical working group that will review his proposal; the main task of which is to study the feasibility of building ‘in-city’ mass housing projects for informal settlers and relocating government offices outside Metro Manila.

“Overpopulation, traffic congestion and high vulnerability to natural disasters have made Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) a pariah among world cities,” said the lawmaker.

Citing Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, Benitez said Metro Manila is home to around 11.9 million people as of 2010; making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

“There is a need to rethink and develop a masterplan that will decongest Metro Manila,” Benitez stressed.

At the Lower House hearing last week, committee members has reached the consensus on the construction of medium-rise buildings which would accommodate the informal settlers sprawled over the capital and  eating up valuable urban space.

Rep. Federico S. Sandoval II (Lone District, Malabon City) also cited the success of a similar pilot project in Valenzuela and challenged the national government to follow suit.

“If it can be done in the local level, then the implementation on a larger scale, on a national level, is really feasible,” said Benitez.

As for solving the traffic congestion, Benitez cited several countries where relocated seats of government have flourished such as in Korea, Malaysia and Brazil.

“If we have done it before because we wanted to decongest Manila, then the same reasoning applies, that we could move our administrative offices out of Metro Manila,” the solon added.