Duterte exec seeks emergency powers against traffic crisis

Duterte exec seeks emergency powers against traffic crisis image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Brent Co | posted June 23, 2016 12:57

Emergency powers aimed to fast track reforms to combat traffic crisis

Traffic, sigh.

That's all the reaction you're going to get from people now because we're all powerless against this menace that robs us of our time, money and energy.

According to incoming Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Arthur Tugade, the traffic problem not only impacts the Philippine economy but also family relations and quality of life.

A 2012 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) indicated that traffic congestion in the Philippines costs the country Php 2.4 billion daily. That amount may reach as much as Php 6 billion by 2020 as economic development promotes the use of transportation.

At a recent conference with the business community, Tugade stressed how the impact of the traffic has reached the point that it already affects family relations and should already be considered a crisis.

”Yung mga magulang hinihantay ng mga anak pagkatapos ng opisina. Nasa traffic pa imbes na magsamasama sila. [Children are waiting for their parents after work. But they are stuck in traffic instead of being with their family]. These are immeasurable benefits. Our quality of life has drastically changed from bad to worst. That has to be addressed,” Tugade said.

Under the incoming administration's plan, the President shall possess these emergency powers for two years in order to swiftly solve right of way issues, strictly implement traffic rules and regulations, and fix restraining orders, injunctions and regulations from the local governments for the greater good, which is speeding up the vehicular traffic flow in the metropolis and 'other major cities around the country.'

Part of the solution being considered is the 'removal of all road and sidewalk obstructions like vendors and transportation terminals' and the opening up of subdivision roads to relieve major roads of congestion.

The security of subdivision residents will still be of paramount importance and the move will be carefully studied before implementation. Other people affected by the 'stringent implementation of traffic rules and of possible emergency powers on traffic issues' will be properly relocated by the incoming administration and will be given other means 'to uplift their lives.'

Tugade has also began meeting with mass transit operators to find solutions in order to help alleviate the burden of millions of commuters who need to go from their homes to work daily.

The incoming transport secretary is preparing a draft of the emergency powers for President-elect Duterte to be submitted for Congressional approval. The proposal is said to have a maximum effectivity of two years.

The situation that seems beyond fixing may soon see positive changes as soon as Congress approves a set of emergency powers to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte specifically to combat the Metro Manila traffic problem.

Favored possible Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and preferred incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez both expressed optimism that their respective houses will vote to grant the emergency powers proposed for the incoming President.