The push to solve the traffic crisis that we are in just received a major boost from two members of the House of Representatives pushing for the quick passage of the ‘Metro Manila Traffic Crisis Act of 2016.’

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando are leading the charge to pass House Bill 554 in order to assist the current administration’s efforts to speed up economic growth.

“The current traffic congestion in Metro Manila has reached a crisis situation, impeding progress and leads to a situation wherein billions are lost daily in fuel cost, man hours and opportunities,” said Arroyo and Fernando.

Called “An Act prescribing related measures necessary and proper to effectively address the traffic crisis in Metro Manila and for other purposes,” the bill enumerates pertinent details regarding President Duterte’s emergency powers to solve the worsening traffic problem.

President Duterte shall be vested with the ‘authority’ required to fix the traffic crisis from a period of two years the very day this bill becomes a law.

Part of the bill stipulates that the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shall receive additional subsidy in the form of a 10-percent allocation from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) annual aggregate gross earnings for the next five years, while the President may opt to upgrade the compensation of MMDA personnel involved in traffic reduction contingent to the approved budget for 2017 by Congress.

The bill also allows the President to enter into negotiated contracts for the construction, repair, rehabilitation, improvement or maintenance of critical infrastructure projects and facilities, subject to the following requirements but subject to the following requirements:

a) In order to inform competitive contracts, the list of projects to be undertaken under this Act, together with their description, the budgetary estimates involved and other salient features, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation thirty (30) days after the effectivity of this Act.

b) Upon perfection of the contract, the terms and conditions of the same, with the name and qualification of the contractor, shall likewise be published in a newspaper of general circulation two (2) weeks before the signing of the contract

c) The contracts shall be awarded only to contractors with: (i) proven competence and experience in similar projects; (ii) competent key personnel and sufficient and reliable equipment and (iii) sound financial capacity

d) All the awarded projects shall be subject to existing government auditing rules and regulations governing negotiated contract.”

Also stipulated is the creation of a five-member Oversight Committee in each House of Congress that will be tasked to monitor the implementation of the Act.