Tugade eyes moving DOTr to Pampanga
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday said he would be willing to transfer the headquarters of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to Clark, Pampanga in a bid to decongest traffic by relocating government offices.
During the transportation committee hearing at the House of Representatives, Tugade was asked by Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez about the worsening traffic condition in Metro Manila due to the influx of people in the metropolis.
The DoTr presented to Congress its proposed draft of the bill that sought to grant President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to solve traffic, which includes among others opening up the roads in the subdivision to ease traffic congestion, go to direct contracting to speed up infrastructure projects and resolve injunction and right of way issues delaying the implementation of infrastructure projects.
“Pwede ba nating sabihin dahil sa congestion, dahil dumami ang mga tao sa Metro Manila, ang dahilan bakit nagkaroon tayo ng traffic (Could we say that we experience traffic due to congestion, because more people reside in Metro Manila)?” Benitez said.
In response, Tugade said he is “seriously considering” transferring the DoTr building in Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong, to Clark, Pampanga.
Tugade said he already has a program and plan to transfer the DoTr headquarters to Clark to lead the way for decongesting Metro Manila by relocating government offices.
“Yung mga nandito na hindi kailangang nasa Metro Manila, lumayag na. Nandiyan naman ang Clark. Handa na akong lumipat diyan. May program na akong lumipat, may date na nga kung kinakailangan,” Tugade said, although he did not disclose the date.
(Offices which are not necessry in Metro Manila could go. Clarck is there. I’m ready to relocate there. I have a program to transfer, we even have the date if necessary.)
Tugade also proposed changing the working time from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the employees to avoid the rush hour when traffic is at its worst.
Benitez proposed using the 3,500 hectares of land currently occupied by government property in Metro Manila as building sites for infrastructure projects that would ease traffic congestion in the metropolis.
“Yung 3,500 hectares of government property dito sa Manila, pag maalis, bigyan ng magandang plano. Pwedeng ipasok sa highways, mass transit, ang mga lugar na yun (The 3,500 hectares of government property in Manila, when transferred, could be used for other plans. These areas could be used for highways and mass transit),” Benitez said.
Tugade also proposed requiring a traffic impact assessment for the construction of buildings in Metro Manila in order to determine the effect on traffic.
“(May traffic dahil) dumami ang mga sasakyan, tao, negosyo, samu’t saring mga direksyon. Kung magpapatayo ka ng isang building, kailangang may (There is traffic due to increase in number of vehicles, businesses, different directions. If you would construct a building, there should be a) traffic impact assessment before the construction, during construction and after construction and while in operation,” Tugade said.
Tugade assured lawmakers that the emergency powers would not be abused because of the limited period of two years, and the oversight powers of Congress to check the implementation of the President’s special powers.
Under the Constitution, only Congress can grant the President emergency powers.
“In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy,” according to Article VI, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution. RAM/rga
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