Atienza to MMDA: Remove corruption before penalizing motorists
On the first day of the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) traffic scheme, Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza asked the leadership of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to focus their attention on removing corruption on the streets instead of “punishing” motorists.
“Pinipilit ng MMDA na ang solusyon, nasa atin. Uulitin ko ang aking posisyon: Ang solusyon, nasa kanila,” Atienza said of the HOV traffic scheme during a press briefing at the House of Representatives.
[The MMDA is insisting that we have the solution. I’ll repeat my position: The solution is with them.]
“They have to now come to realize and accept the fact that corruption is the number one problem why we have a traffic mess,” he said.
Atienza, a former Manila mayor, cited one example of a problem that had caused traffic in Manila and its neighboring cities.
Just a week ago, he chided MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, asking him and his officials to reassess their duties and priorities.
“I keep on citing very specific examples: 47 terminals of buses along Edsa. They’re all contributory to the traffic mess,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
He noted that there’s one “giant terminal” on Buendia near Taft Avenue. Buendia (now Gil Puyat Avenue), he said, was widened by the government, spending billions of pesos – only to make half of it into a bus terminal.
The MMDA started on Wednesday a dry-run of its HOV scheme, which bans driver-only vehicles from Edsa – from the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan to the Magallanes interchange in Makati from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. – the rush hours.
By doing this, the MMDA hopes to encourage motorists using Edsa to carpool.
But the policy, according to Atienza, is not practical, as drivers can be with several other people in one trip and alone in the next.
“Why are you now punishing the citizens?” Atienza said. “Papaano ‘yong nanay na naghatid ng mga anak, uuwi ngayon sa kanila mag-isa, hindi na pwede?”
[What happens to the mother who brings his kid to school? So she won’t be able to drive after that because she’s already alone?]
The scheme, he added, would also congest interior roads, where driver-only vehicles would pass through.
“Umaambon. Dalawang oras ka na ‘don dahil barado na lahat ‘yong junctions,” he said.
[If it rains, then you’re stuck there for two hours because all the junctions are jammed.]
When MMDA implemented the HOV scheme on Wednesday, almost 3,000 motorists were caught, easing traffic along Edsa.
In contrast, traffic at the parallel C-5 Road was tight during the rush hours, according to MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia.
“We observed for more than 30 minutes,” he said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English, during a press conference. “The flow of traffic was smooth during those hours.” /atm
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