MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine capital of Manila has been tagged by the "CNNGo" travel and lifestyle website as the world's third-worst city for driving.
The website cited Filipinos' concern about traffic congestion as their number one problem, followed by air pollution, garbage collection, flood control and the need for security.
"So, Filipinos care more about getting to work on time than they do about respiratory ailments, mounting trash heaps, drowning or being assaulted?" it said.
CNNGo said that in 2001, Manila borrowed US$60 million from the World Bank for transit-related activities.
"Among other things, the funds were meant to 'promote the use of non-motorized transport,'" it added. "A campaign asking locals to 'Please stop driving,' however, wasn't necessarily the best approach to traffic management."
The website believes that authorities may be doing something to solve the traffic mess in the city. "Redeeming quality: You're in a country in which smooth-flowing traffic is apparenly of utmost importance to residents. So, you gotta figure somebody, somewhere is working on the problem. Right?"
Beijing in China topped the list as the world's worst place for driving, followed by New Delhi in India.
The other cities in the world on the list are Mexico City in Mexico, Johannesburg in South Africa, Lagos in Nigeria, São Paolo in Brazil, Moscow in Russia, Toronto in Canada and Monaco.
MMDA cites improvements
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officials expressed doubts the report.
"Siguro hindi naman totoo iyan. Ano bang basehan nila? Convenience? Travel time?" said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
"Ang ginagawa natin sinasama na rin natin ang mga residente para sila rin ang gumawa ng paraan against traffic," he added.
He said that while some Filipino drivers need more discipline on the road, the country is not being left behind with regard to the state of roads and vehicles.
"MMDA, under Chairman Tolentino's strong leadership, is working hard to improve Metro Manila's traffic situation," said the agency's traffic discipline unit head, lawyer Yves Gonzalez.
"We've implemented speed limits, motorcycle lanes, installed traffic light timers, utilized social media, and mobile apps to inform motorists," he told ABS-CBNNews.com
"All projects aimed at improving Metro Manila's traffic situation. All this in less than 2 years, and we have a lot more ahead," Gonzalez said. - with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News