House panel sets emergency meeting amid ‘mass transport crisis’ in NCR
MANILA, Philippines — The 68-member House transportation committee has assembled an emergency meeting on Wednesday to tackle the public transportation crisis gripping Metro Manila after the failure of three rail systems in the capital region last week.
Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento said the meeting aims to find the “quickest, most doable and most practical solution” to fill the vacuum brought by the partial suspension of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 operations and the closure of portions of South Luzon Expressway’s (Slex) due to the ongoing construction of the Skyway.
The LRT Line 1 and Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) also experienced technical issues that disrupted its operations last week.
“We are talking about hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who would lose their means of mobility because of this suspension. We are now in the middle of a transportation crisis and we should really move quickly to solve this,” Sarmiento said in a statement Tuesday.
The panel has set its meeting at 1 p.m., Wednesday. It is expected to hear traffic management plans of concerned government agencies in the wake of the limited LRT-2 service and SLEX “carmageddon.”
Sarmiento said the government needs to act swift as the traffic problem would get worse with the onset of the holiday season.
“I just hope that this time, our transport sector including our public utility operators can truly understand the gravity of our problem and take the actions necessary to get us out of this situation,” the congressman added.
Officials of the Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Light Railway Transit Authority, Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Light Rail Manila Corporation, SLEX management and city bus operators are expected to attend the discussion.
It was Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes who concluded that a “mass transport crisis” is happening in the metropolis because of the power glitch and mechanical issue the MRT-3 and LRT-1 faced last October 2 and 3, respectively.
He also cited the fire that destroyed a power rectifier of LRT-2, paralyzing its operations last October 3. LRT-2 resumed partial operations from Cubao (Araneta City terminal) in Quezon City to C.M. Recto Avenue station in Manila on Tuesday morning.
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