The Department of Transportation is now leading traffic management in Metro Manila, but Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez believes only a long-term solution through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) will ease traffic congestion for good.
READ: What causes Metro Manila traffic gridlock?
Speaking on Mornings@ANC Thursday, Suarez noted that although the Philippines had the first mass transit system with the Light Rail Transit (LRT) under former President Ferdinand Marcos, the latest construction was the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) under former President Fidel V. Ramos.
"Look at that time span na wala tayong ginawa, while our neighboring countries are bragging, left and right, may mass, may elevate. Lahat sila organized na ang mass transit, tayo na lang ang naiwan," he said.
But he added, the government would not have enough funds to put up another mass transit or railway system, so it would have to borrow money or engage in a PPP.
"I would rather go to PPP, kasi, as I’ve said, where are you going to get money unless you borrow some more against GDP. Lahat ng administrations is allergic to that of borrowing certain percentages higher than GDP," he said.
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He maintained, a PPP will not only ensure getting the expertise of the private stakeholders, but will also induce competition among them in, say, enhancing the MRT-3.
"I think it [does] about 500,000 [passengers] a day. You divide that by the number of 35 passenger per bus. Can you imagine how many buses and jeepneys we'll manage to eliminate in this route?," he said
"But there are sectors who says 'I can double that to a million passengers a day without the government coming out a single centavo on a PPP,'" he added.
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In the meantime, he has proposed some short-term solutions to alleviate the traffic crisis, including banning vehicles 35 years and older and those without plate numbers from traversing the metro's major roads.
He also wants car dealers to require the buyer's latest income tax return before purchasing a car and the 'no garage, no car' policy.
He explained, with more cars plying through major thoroughfares, some private vehicles may want to use side streets to avoid traffic, but the effort would be useless if the streets are littered with parked vehicles.
"You can identify through GPS, and you can come up with a rerouting program, but if there are parked vehicles in secondary roads because they don't have garage, they will be in the streets, so mawawala 'yung secondary road alternative," he added.
He is also eyeing the strict implementation of free car emission testings.
Suarez, the House Minority Leader, maintained they are a constructive minority that supports granting emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte but which shall be limited to only solving the traffic problem.
"He said emergency power is only for traffic congestion in the National Capital Region. He didn't mention about this drug issue, about getting raids on graft and corruption in the government or in the private sector," he said.
"So para sa amin, we’re all-out for it—solving this traffic issue through giving the president the emergency power," he added.