The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) headed by Secretary Art Tugade today met with the Senate Public Services Committee with a proposal asking for emergency powers to solve the growing traffic crisis in the nation. Present at the meeting were representatives of the DOTC led by Sec. Tugade along with Sen. Grace Poe as Chairman of the Public Services committee and several of the current Senators of the Republic.

Tugade called for emergency powers to address the current and growing problem, and pointed to a unified body to manage traffic. It was also proposed to remove the arbitrary nature at which traffic has been managed at the local government level.

“I might be guilty of over simplifying things. This is one issue -the traffic issue- which cannot be over-simplified,” said Secretary Tugade.

Tugade was quick to assuage the potential alarm regarding the phrase “emergency powers” with the Senators in attendance. He stated that the DOTC is asking for a two-year period to execute measures to facilitate better traffic flow and provide more options for commuters. This included an announcement that there will be 20 new MRT trains within the first 100 days of the administration.

“Wag po kayong mabahala sa salitang emergency. Ito po ay kailangan natin. DOTC has a lot of things to do in a short amount of time,” said Tugade.

The DOTC Secretary also discussed mid- to long-term projects to present more options for commuters. The DOTC will be segmenting the 6-year tenure of the Duterte Administration into three parts. The first 1-1.5 years will be targeted at what Tugade called “low-hanging fruit”, or common-sense solutions, while the 1.5-4.5 year period will be dedicated to medium-term projects such as underpasses, P2P buses and PPP projects, and finally the 4.5-6 year where they can start implementing the DOTC's 30 year roadmap.

Tugade attributed the problems and frustrations of transportation to long-standing issues with the government agencies charged with handling it.

“What we have now is a result of decades and decades of neglect and non-performance. Please my countrymen, do not expect that I solve this overnight, in 100 days, not even in 2 years,” said Tugade to the Senators.

“What I can assure you is you can feel, hear, and experience a difference in that [two-year] period.”