Superbody to handle traffic
A SUPERBODY under the direct supervision of President Duterte is one of the responses of his administration to the road and air traffic congestion in Metro Manila and Cebu province that it says has become a “national emergency.”
The centralized traffic authority is being proposed by congressional leaders in House Bill No. 3, the proposed “Traffic Crisis Act,” which seeks to grant emergency powers to Mr. Duterte for two years.
Under the bill, the President is to be vested with emergency powers to reorganize, merge or abolish the Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metro Manila Development Authority, Toll Regulatory Board, Civil Aviation Board and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The bill seeks to grant the President emergency powers to do away with the mandatory bidding on procurement of transportation equipment and take over errant transport franchises to solve the traffic mess on roads and airports in Metro Manila and Cebu.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said, in his introductory note in HB 3, that the “massive and horrendous” traffic congestion in land and air brought about by the rapid increase in the number of vehicles on the road and the surge in domestic and international flights “has assumed the nature and magnitude of a national emergency.”
A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) placed the economic losses from traffic congestion in Metro Manila at P2.4 billion a day in 2014.
Jica said the losses would increase to P6 billion a day by 2030 without intervention.
“[T]he President, whenever it is advantageous to the government, may enter into negotiated contracts for the construction, repair, rehabilitation, improvement or maintenance of roads, bridges, railways, toll roads, expressways, skyways, airport runways and procurement of coaches,” the bill said.
As a fail-safe measure, Alvarez said his bill proposed the publication of projects and their budget estimates 30 days after the law had taken effect.
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