Arroyo allies want probe on metro road projects

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2014 07:37 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2014 03:37 AM

MANILA - The House independent bloc wants the Aquino administration to address traffic jams in Metro Manila, as construction of major infrastructure is expected to worsen traffic jams.

Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who heads the Arroyo-allied bloc, on Monday said the national government should prioritize solving traffic jams and possible slowdown in the economy that could be caused by construction of the Skyway 3.

"Millions of our countrymen will be inconvenienced by the construction of the Skyway 3 not just for a few days but for more than three years," he said.

Romualdez wants a congressional investigation on the effects of the construction on traffic.

"That's why we intend to invite officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, [Metropolitan] Manila Development Authority, traffic officials of local governments affected by the construction, and the consortium that owns the Skyway, to the House question hour," he said. "We want to hear it straight from them what troubles and problems we should expect with the construction of the Skyway3, and how do they intend to deal with them."

Romualdez compared the start of the infrastructure projects in the last years of the Aquino administration to the construction of flyovers during the administration of President Cory Aquino, which also began in the latter years of her presidency.

Romualdez wants to know how much the public will pay to use the infrastructure being built.

"For the record, we in the bloc are not and will never be against progress. But we want to find out, for the sake of the public, the details of the contract between the government and the contractors, as well as the consortium, behind Skyway 3. This early, the public must know how much will be the toll fees for Skyway 3 once it's done," he said.

"Will the toll be passed on by the public transport sector to the riding public in the form of increased fares? If this happens, there will surely be aftershocks like, among others, demands for higher salaries by workers," he added.

"For motorists, will it be affordable? In case the toll is too high and motorists won't use Skyway 3 as often as expected, what happens to the traffic below?" Romualdez said.