‘Crisis powers to be used for synchronized, uniform traffic system’
The emergency powers being sought for President Rodrigo Duterte would be used to create a “synchronized and uniform” traffic system with one authority, and allow the use of private roads such as those in subdivisions, among others, Trade Secretary Arthur Tugade told the Senate on Wednesday.
During the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on the proposed emergency powers, Tugade stressed the need for a synchronized traffic system noting the numerous authorities managing traffic like the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local governments.
“What do we need is a synchronized and uniform traffic system, traffic structure, traffic rules with one single traffic authority,” he told the committee being chaired by Senator Grace Poe.
“In other words, the Secretary would want to see in the proposed Transportation Crisis Act a single authority to manage the traffic system in Metro Manila,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, the first to file a bill in the Senate, granting the President additional powers for traffic.
Tugade said the President needs the additional powers to implement the plan for at least two year.
But Drilon said the President could ask for more than two years since the Constitution provides that the emergency powers could last for the duration of one Congress.
“So it can be even for three years and we’re willing to grant this,” he said.
Aside from several authorities managing traffic, Tugade said there are also different authorities issuing licenses to vehicle owners like the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the Land Transportation Office and the Transportation Office, Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, the MMDA, and the local government Units (LGUs).
“So you are saying that at least for the period of emergency, we should suspend the powers of the local government units in so far as management of the traffic is concerned at least in Metro Manila and in urban areas when there’s crisis so there’s only one single authority,” Drilon said.
Tugade said another solution to ease the traffic is either to reduce the number of vehicles, or build more roads or use private roads such as subdivisions.
Some subdivisions, he said, allowed vehicles to use their roads but some have set some conditions.
“But let it be said right here and now, that our choices for private roads will not be arbitrary or whimsical. Number 2, that we will not compromise the safety of the subdivision, the security mechanisms shall be placed and if it need be, the security expense will be borne by government,” Tugade said.
He said the government is also willing to sit down with the subdivision owners to talk about road maintenance.
“At higit sa lahat , yung gamit ho hindi 24 hours. Ide-define natin yug peak moment of time na kung saan dadaan,” he said.
(Most importantly, road use would not be 24 hours. We have to define the peak moment of time when the road would be used.)
Tugade said the use of private roads will be managed by the DOTr. CDG
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