MANILA, Philippines — Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Friday called for a Metro Manila summit to tackle not only the country’s flood and traffic problems but also the preparation for its hosting of the APEC Leader’s Summit in 2015.
Recto ‘s call was prompted by the bus ban now being implemented in the City of Manila.
“In every crisis, there is an opportunity, and the city order preventing buses from plying Manila’s streets should prod Metro Manila mayors and heads of national government agencies to sit down and discuss how to jointly solve the problems of this megapolis of12 million residents,” he said in a statement.
“There are management collaboration issues in an area where operations of 17 local governments sometimes overlap with the work and mandate of national government offices,” he said.
In the case of bus franchises, Recto said even the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) was not aware of the number of franchises being issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
He also noted the lack of consultations with the local governments whether or not they could still absorb the buses in their respective cities.
Recto described this as “one symptom of the sometimes dysfunctional state of intra-government coordination.”
The convening of a Metro Manila summit, he said, was also necessary in the light of the country’s plan to host the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2015.
While the host city has yet to be chosen, Metro Manila, as the nation’s capital and gateway, will play a major role in it.
The APEC Leaders Summit is one of four high-profile events the country is hosting from 2014 to 2017. The other three are the World Economic Forum’s East Asia Summit in 2014, the 2016 ASEAN Tourism Forum and the 2017 ASEAN Summit.
On the APEC Summit alone, Recto said, it will be preceded by 17 high-level meetings, each having attendees ranging from 250 to 4,000.
While hosting duties of the four summits might be shared among 10 cities, it is even possible that the APEC Leaders meeting will be held outside Metro Manila.