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Amid ‘chaotic situation,’ Drilon says it’s about time’ to review MMDA powers

/ 04:06 PM August 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Amid what he called a “chaotic situation,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon proposed that the mandate of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in managing traffic on Edsa be reviewed.

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“I proposed that we review the powers of the MMDA in so far as traffic management is concerned and I think we can have a good debate on that,” Drilon said during Tuesday’s Senate committee inquiry into the traffic woes facing Metro Manila.

“It’s about time that we review [MMDA’s mandate] given the chaotic situation because it has been brought out that the reason for the injunction…is that the MMDA admitted that they had no power [and] that the power belongs to LGUs (local government units),” he added.

Drilon was referring to an injunction recently issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, barring the MMDA from implementing a provincial bus ban meant to decongest traffic on the capital’s busiest thoroughfare.

Quezon City RTC Branch 223 Judge Caridad Walse-Lutero, in a 25-page decision released on Friday, said both the MMDA and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) seemed to have abused their police powers when they amended the routes of provincial buses and ordered the closure of provincial bus terminals along Edsa without sufficiently consulting the ban’s stakeholders.

“Maybe it’s an opportunity for us to review this particular aspect because, otherwise, the implementor is hamstrung by the lack of authority as bound by the courts,” he said.

“We’re not depriving the LGUs of any power, it’s just on the particular issue which has become so vital to our lively management of Edsa,” he further explained.

Senator Grace Poe, chair of the public services committee, agreed with Drilon.

“As a matter of fact, I mentioned it earlier, that since we expanded the definition of Metro Manila to include Mega Manila—Rizal Cavite, as well as laguna—that perhaps we should really look into the mandate of the MMDA,” Poe said.

For MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia, he said the agency should also be given police powers.

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“Kasi si Congressman Bayani Fernando meron siyang prinopose do’n sa house para bigyan kami ng police powers kasi wala nga kaming policy making ‘no, kumbaga hindi batas eh,” Garcia told reporters after the hearing.

“Ang meron, LTFRB, LTO (Land Transportation Office), ang samin enforcement lang, kumbaga ‘yong samin mababaw,” he added.

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