MMDA calls for presidential emergency powers to solve traffic woes


Posted at Sep 18 2019 02:40 PM

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MANILA - Granting emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte would help solve the traffic congestion on EDSA, an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Wednesday.

On ANC's Headstart, MMDA's chief of the EDSA Special Traffic and Transport Zone Bong Nebrija said presidential emergency powers would help move road projects faster.

Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said there are laws already in place that would allow faster procurement during emergencies. A recent executive order exempted the transportation department from going through the state procurement board.

"What is happening on the ground is different from what they are saying. For example, we're building a bridge, Intramuros crossing Escolta. There is a TRO, a court order preventing them to proceed," Nebrija said. 

Another case, he said is the right of way issues.

"The Skyway 3, it should have proceed earlier on but now we need to reroute them to San Juan River because of right of way issues," he said.

The MMDA official said if Duterte were given emergency powers today, they would have asked him to grant them police powers.

"Bus drivers are laughing at us because we cannot even confiscate their driver's license," he said. "I think this is the right time for us to at least be considered to be given police powers."

Meanwhile, Nebrija also laments the massive budget cut on the MMDA's traffic and transport management component for 2020 where it now stands at P103 million or 69 percent lower than last year.

"We've been asking for hazard pay for our enforcers who are exposed to the environment day in and day out," he said, adding that an enforcer only earns P412 a day.

He added that they have already lost enforcers to pulmonary disease.

"That's really something that we need to address. And 69% down with our budget and then we're talking about traffic everyday, I think that will not compensate for what we’re doing right now," he said.

He appealed to lawmakers to partner with them.

“We are your men on the ground. Help us with the strong policy and help us basically for our own welfare,” he said.