The Philippines loses an estimated 3.5bn pesos ($70mn) every day due to heavy traffic in the capital Manila, and officials said on Friday there were no quick fixes to the problem.
According to a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the daily losses were up from an estimated 2.4bn pesos in 2014.
"Metro Manila traffic is getting worse," JICA chief representative Susumu Ito said following a meeting with transport and socio-economic officials on Thursday. "If we do nothing, it will become 5.4bn pesos in 2035."
Metro Manila, the Philippines' capital region, is made up of 16 cities and one municipality. With an area of about 620 square kilometres and a population of more than 24 million, it is the most densely populated region in the Philippines.
Ito said the government's plan to spend more than 8tn pesos in various infrastructure projects over the next six years would help ease the congestion, especially the construction of several overhead trains and a possible subway.
"The BBB (build, build, build) programme is in the right direction," he added. "It's a must-do. With BBB, (losses) will be reduced to 3bn pesos a day."
Jojo Garcia, assistant general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which handles traffic management in the capital, said the traffic problems would take time to resolve.
"There is no overnight solution to our traffic woes," he said on Friday. "The solutions are really long-term, we need new infrastructure, additional roads, improved mass transportation systems."
"We also really need to decongest Metro Manila," he added, noting the need to spread out residential and commercial areas in the metropolis.
Garcia said the daily losses from traffic were calculated based on lost productivity due to time wasted spent on the road by workers as well as delays in delivery of goods and services.
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