DOTr still pushes for emergency powers to ease traffic


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MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will continue to push for the granting by Congress of emergency powers to address the country’s traffic situation.

“The President is right. The emergency powers, if this was passed, is part of a basket of solutions. These are the emergency powers, MRT, LRT, PUV modernization. All solutions must come together to solve traffic,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Wednesday in an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the launching of the Metro Manila Subway in Valenzuela City.

Tugade was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he was able to fulfill most of his campaign promises, including signing laws on free tuition, universal health care and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, except solving the traffic situation along EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Avenue), the main thoroughfare passing through the metropolitan cities of Caloocan, Quezon, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Makati and Pasay.

The President said the granting of emergency powers is necessary for the government to spend funds for the implementation of various transportation projects to alleviate the impact of the current traffic situation.

Tugade said the department will continue to seek the enactment of a law granting emergency powers after Congress convenes its session following the mid-term elections in May.

“We will still push for the passage of emergency powers. But we can only do so much. If we push and push and push and the people will not listen and continue to find excuses for its delay what will happen?,” Tugade said.

The Traffic Crisis Act, which is pending before Congress, will designate the Transportation Secretary as Traffic Chief who shall have power of control and supervision over land transportation agencies, including the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the proposed Metropolitan Cebu Traffic Coordinating Council and the proposed Davao Administrator.

The Traffic Chief shall have the power to harmonize and enforce all traffic rules and regulations to implement a unified traffic system throughout each of the metropolitan areas and implement programs that will have significant impact on addressing the traffic crisis.

The bill also contains provisions on route rationalization for public utility vehicles (PUVs); revocation and modification of PUV franchises and permits; suspension of PUV franchising authority; government takeover of franchises; and traffic impact plan. (PNA) By Aerol John Pateña


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