BUHAY party-list Representative and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza expressed utter exasperation on the proposal of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to impose a “congestion fee” scheme purportedly to reduce the number of private cars on EDSA.
“Here we go again, with the MMDA coming up with another hair-brained idea that would punish the public for the inefficiencies of government. Why should motorists be made to pay a “congestion fee” for using EDSA during rush hours? Let’s face the facts, EDSA is perennially clogged because of so many illegal vehicles using it like colorum and provincial buses. At certain times of the day where there are very few buses traversing EDSA, traffic is light. But once you have the buses criss-crossing the lanes, that’s when the traffic mess begins. The continued inaction of the MMDA on this very glaring fact is beyond our appreciation. They would rather tax now the motorists and make them suffer for the inability of the MMDA to enforce the law,” Atienza said.
He maintained that corruption is the root of the traffic mess, coupled with the MMDA’s failure to work with local government units in clearing all side streets of obstructions.
“From point to point, you can use San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Manila to get around the Metro region. But right now most side streets are virtually impassable because they are cluttered with illegal parking, stalled and dilapidated vehicles. This is exacerbated by the sprouting and unchecked malpractice of certain barangay chairmen are putting up gates, making their side streets private roads, blocking its use—this is patently illegal,” he said.
Atienza also took exception to the statement of a senator that more than half of Filipino drivers are stupid which is why streets are always congested.
“I say that is not the main reason for our traffic mess. Three-fourths of the enforcers are corrupt. Why are there stupid drivers? Because the police and traffic enforcers do not make arrests, they are hiding behind trees.
Except for some outstanding cities like San Juan, Mandaluyong and Makati where enforcers are doing their jobs– they work thru the night and even during heavy downpours,” Atienza said.
He urged MMDA Chairman Thomas Orbos to “look at the problem straight in the eye and you will see the genuine solution.”