MMDA shuns finger-pointing in Senate probe on traffic mess


Posted at Aug 13 2019 07:39 AM

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Tuesday that it was ready to face a Senate inquiry into the crippling traffic in the metropolis, but urged authorities to refrain from finger-pointing. 

Sen. Grace Poe sought the probe after the MMDA's dry run of a provincial bus ban on EDSA spawned traffic jams last week. 

"Handa po tayong makipagtulungan kung in aid of legislation iyan, kung paano maiibsan ang traffic sa EDSA," said MMDA EDSA traffic head Bong Nebrija. 

"Sana nga lang po, hindi umabot sa sisihan kasi sa totoo lang po, wala naman kaming pinag-eeksperimentuhan dito," he added. 

(We are ready to cooperate if that's in aid of legislation on how to ease traffic along EDSA. We just hope that it will not end up in fault-finding because we did not experiment on this.) 

The MMDA, he said, merely implemented existing policies from the transportation department and the Metro Manila Council. 

"Hindi po sariling diskarte ng MMDA. How can we come up with a policy na inter-agency in nature tulad po n'yan? We just get the guidelines and directions of higher agencies," he said of the bus ban. 

(That is not an independent tactic of the MMDA. How can we come up with a policy na inter-agency in nature like that?) 

The MMDA pushed through with the ban's dry run even after a Quezon City court barred the implementation of the policy. 

Various groups have questioned the legality of the traffic scheme before the Supreme Court, claiming the MMDA does not have the authority to ban provincial buses along EDSA as the agency does not have legislative nor police powers.

They rely on a 2007 Supreme Court ruling which invalidated former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s similar directive to close down bus terminals along EDSA in 2003.

The Philippine capital’s traffic congestion costs the country P3.5 billion daily, a 2017 data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency showed. This could rise to P5.4 billion by 2035 if no interventions are made.

The government is now rushing to build transportation systems to make commuting in the capital easier and free the roads of cars. 

DZMM, August 13, 2019