Solon says corruption lurks in traffic bill
A minority member of the House of Representatives on Saturday warned his colleagues against “being stampeded into approving” a bill granting emergency powers to the Duterte administration to solve the traffic crisis in Metro Manila, saying it could open the floodgates to corruption.
Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, in a statement, said he did not see House Bill No. 4334, or the proposed Traffic Crisis Act, as the solution to the “seemingly unsolvable traffic mess.”
“This is not the solution. This would only aggravate the situation since it does not address the real cause of the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila and other urban cities —corruption!” he said.
Atienza, senior deputy House minority leader, said giving emergency powers that would suspend laws on bidding and procurement might only lead to more corruption.
Atienza said: “Efficient and honest to goodness enforcement of existing laws is what’s needed. But as long as corruption exists, there will be no solution.”
He cited a number of problems in Metro Manila traffic that could not just be addressed by emergency powers.
“Traffic enforcers are not enforcing the law. They are looking the other way and allowing corrupt interests to take precedence,” Atienza said, noting the proliferation of illegal bus and jeep terminals.
“On several major intersections, they let private motorists wait for five to 10 minutes while they give priority to buses and jeepneys coming from the perpendicular roads. Why, because of bribes?” he said.
Another problem, he said, was the apparent refusal of authorities to clear alternate routes.
“Secondary roads that can serve as alternate routes are still littered with illegally parked vehicles, basketball courts, and even houses in the middle of the streets,” said Atienza.
He said the Metro Rail Transit, which should be an efficient mode of transportation, needed massive improvement but exempting this from bidding and procurement laws would only lead to “unimaginable corruption.”
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