Cayetano to DOTr chief Bautista: Have we learned from Metro Manila mistakes?
Let’s learn from our mistakes.
This was Senator Alan Peter Cayetano’s advice to ad interim Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, December 7, by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
During an often tense exchange, Cayetano asked Bautista if the Department of Transportation (DOTr) compiles the government’s mistakes in transportation in Metro Manila.
He said such a compilation would help avoid the same mistakes in cities that would be developed in the future.
“I was wondering as an institution sa DOTr, do you take note of the mistakes that they did in Metro Manila rather than just try to correct these? Para sa planning ninyo sa ibang lugar hindi na ito maulit,” the senator said.
Cayetano said he has been visiting Cebu since his youth and has seen it transform from having just a few resorts to a major tourism hub.
“Inabot ko pa talaga, wala talagang mga bahay, dalawa lang ang beach (resorts) sa Cebu and Mactan. And what happened to Metro Cebu, na-develop talaga, ang ganda talaga,” he said.
“Kaya lang ‘yung mistakes natin in far as not having enough trains, rapid bus, ‘yung traffic, naulit lang,” he added.
Bautista replied that the DOTr has a list of these problems and mistakes that will be used in the strategic planning the department is holding starting Thursday, December 8.
Cayetano said the CA would be “very interested” to study the planning findings to understand how the DOTr plans to avoid Metro Manila’s blunders.
The senator cited the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget, which has an allocation for the convergence of airports and seaports but only for roads that can be used just by those who have private vehicles and not by the general public.
“That’s good news but that’s the same mistake in Metro Manila,” he said. “So gumawa nga ng kalye papunta sa seaport at airport pero hindi nama gumawa ng mga train papunta doon.”
“Will you have a masterplan or a checklist for outside Metro Manila or Metro Cebu na kapag gumawa kayo ng airport at gumawa ng bagong city or nagde-develop ng city, ito na ‘yung model ng transportation para hindi na lang tayo replay ng replay (ng mistakes),” he added.
Cayetano said the DOTr must also be ready for the heavy traffic that results from successful economic activity and which mainly affects the working people.
“I’m quite happy with the economic numbers and projections and I’m hoping this administration will be successful, but isang byproduct kasi ng successful economic activity is traffic. And it’s not ordinary traffic na nasa kotse ka, nagda-drive, it’s really the commuter not being able to get from point A to point B safely or comfortably,” he said.
“So ‘yung mga executive, dadating sa opisina naka-aircon, nasa kotse, mabango, pero ‘yung ibang empleyado nila papagalitan nila, bakit late? Pawis na pawis and everything or basa sa ulan,” he continued.
Cayetano said while the current situation is not Bautista’s fault, “it will be your fault if it happens in the cities we are developing.”
He advised Bautista, who served as president and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines for many years, to effect change in the government and not the other way around.
“We want the Jaime Bautista who was in the private sector. Dapat ‘yung pagka-private sector executive mo, ma-imbibe ng DOTr, hindi ‘yung usual red tape ng gobyerno ay maapektuhan si Jaime Bautista today,” Cayetano said.
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