MOTORISTS and commuters should have an equal share of Metro Manila’s prime thoroughfare—Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), a group of lawyers suggested on Monday.
Carless People of the Philippines, represented by more than 100 lawyers from all over the country, has sent a letter to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) demanding that the roads be equally shared—50-50 and lengthwise—by car owners and those who are without vehicles.
The letter entitled, “Notice to Sue to Implement Road Sharing” stipulated that half of the roadways should be devoted to “organized, collective, clean and affordable transportation system.”
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that among the group’s demands is allotting half of EDSA for pedestrian walkways and bike riders.
Tolentino said that the agency will study the proposal of environmental lawyers adding that they even threatened to sue him.
“Ihahabla nga raw kami kasi ang gusto nila ay hatiin naming ang kalsada [They threatened to sue us because they wanted to divide Edsa equally for motorists and commuters],” he added.
Among the charges the group plan to file against MMDA are violation of Clean Air Act and Executive Order 774 and Administrative Order No. 254.
Although he understands the intention of the group in addressing air pollution along major roads, Tolentino said the only problem is on how the proposal is to be implemented.
“Tama ang pakay pero kung paano ipapatutupad, yun ang problema [The intention is good but as to how it would be implemented, that’s the problem],” he added.
In articulating its demands, the group cited stark facts stating that while only two out of 100 people in the Philippines own cars, they are, however, given almost all of the road space.
The remaining 98 percent of Filipinos who do not own cars are not even given a proper sidewalk, bicycle lanes, or a good public transportation system, the group added.
The letter also pointed out that there is already a law existing that directs the concerned government agencies to reform the road system to follow a simple principle: “Those who have less in wheels must have more inroads.”
The Notice to Sue also stated that the failure of the government to implement the law, and the resulting damage to the people is tantamount to ‘ecological homicide’.
It added that despite roads already choking on air pollution, the Philippine government has failed to implement the law directing the reformation of the road system to favor non-motorized transportation and public transportation.
“Those who have less in wheels must have more in roads,” it said.
Apart from MMDA, the letter was also sent to officials of the Departments of Transportation and Communications, Public Works and Highways, Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Governments, the Climate Change Commission headed by the Office of the President.