Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento from Catanduanes has filed House Bill 6059, which seeks to protect public commuters to the ‘negative consequences of economic progress such as carbon emissions, shortages in energy resources and congestion.’
The bill’s main objective is to promote a sustainable system and alternative modes of transportation while also improving air quality, increasing efficiency and reducing congestion.
"The problems in our transportation today are alienating the public commuter since he/she, rather than spending time with the family, has to spend more time negotiating traffic," said Sarmiento.
In order to achieve this goal, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and other concerned government agencies are mandated to draw up a Sustainable Transport Action Plan that will ‘provide a roadmap for national and local transportation systems to be adhered to at all levels throughout the country.’
It will include strategies relating to the prioritization of non-motorized transport, seamless and inclusive public transportation system, and green infrastructure and facilities parking, public transport, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure, travel demand management and will set out the actions required to achieve the mode shift target over a certain period of time as identified by DOTC and NEDA.
Local Government Units (LGUs) will be asked to formulate plans for land use and mobility in line with the Sustainable Transport Action Plan while the Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with the DOTC and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) are tasked to formulate strategies towards vehicle modernization and use of alternative energy and cleaner fuels.
The bill provides for maintenance of sidewalks for safe pedestrian passage and for the safe and convenient use of wheelchairs, strollers and similar instruments. There should also be provision for bike lanes, bicycle parking spaces and bike racks.
In addition, the DOTC is required to commission a ‘Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System,’ a water ferry system as well as on the rationalization of issuance of franchises for PUVs.