Solon scolds transport agencies for ignoring Congress proposals
Transportation agencies faced a dressing down by the House of Representatives for failing to comply with solons’ recommendations to improve the dire transportation situation in the country.
During the transportation panel’s “State of the Committee Address” (Soca) on Tuesday, panel chair Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento said the agencies did not “take into heart” the committee proposals.
Sarmiento even threatened the agencies that their failure to implement the committee recommendations would be a factor in the approval of their budget for 2016.
“The power of the purse lies with Congress. Congress approves the budget of each agency in the national government. As such, our proposal on the first Soca should have been taken seriously,” Sarmiento said.
“It appears you have not taken our proposals to heart,” he added.
In his Soca, Sarmiento enumerated the committee proposals to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Metro Rail Transit-3, Light Rail Transit-1, the Philippine National Railways, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), among others.
The committee proposed to the MRT the swift implementation of the automated fare collection system and the procurement of new trains.
Sarmiento said the MRT only has 12 to 14 of the 73 MRT coaches are working.
Sarmiento said the LTFRB is advised to work with Congress to allow the operation of Uber and GrabTaxi to be compliant with the law, especially to level the playing field with other taxi operators.
He also urged the CAB to put a cap on increases in air fare.
He said the Marina should create safety standards for wooden hull vessels, especially in the aftermath of the July 2 sinking of the wooden motor banca MB Nirvana in Ormoc, Leyte where at least 60 people were killed.
He said the DOTC should fast track the implementation of major infrastructure projects such as the Naia expressway Phase 2, LRT Line Cavite Extension and common station, among others.
Sarmiento also said the DOTC should make a transportation master plan in the land, sea, air, and railway.
“I will not lie to you. Transportation is a messy thing, especially in the Philippines. But I’m still hopeful. We don’t need the money; all we need is a little creativity and a lot of passion to serve the public,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento gave all the agencies until Aug. 12 to submit their progress reports on these suggestions.
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