Granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to solve the traffic problems in Metro Manila should be the last resort of the government, former 1-UTAK party-list Rep. Vigor Mendoza 2nd said Saturday.
“Emergency powers are not needed to decongest [traffic]. If we are to use emergency powers, we might as well set aside the law,” Mendoza said, adding that government should put in place less drastic solutions.
However, he made it clear that he is not against granting the President special powers to solve the traffic mess, which had caused daily outcries from commuters and motorists.
In a news conference in Quezon City, the former lawmaker laid out recommendations which he said can be implemented in the next 90 to 120 days. He said the government can, within this time-frame, modernize the public transport system by replacing old jeepney units with new and air-conditioned ones.
“Car owners will be more enticed to leave their cars and just ride public transport,” he said.
Other means include dispatch-scheduling of jeepneys, eradicating colorum and out-of-line vehicles through an eTag system and ordering truck deliveries from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
“The eTag is like the biometrics of the vehicle which can be read using an eTag reader. No eTag or wrong eTag means the vehicle has no proper papers or is operating out-of-line,” Mendoza said.
He also proposed making the Marcos Highway, C5, and private subdivision roads as alternate routes to congested EDSA.
“Reroute to the peripheral roads, at ‘yung traffic sa EDSA ay lilipat sa kanila (the EDSA traffic will be trasferred there),” he pointed out.
He said the government also has the option to make all northbound traffic flow one-way through EDSA and use C5 for the southbound traffic.
“There are many things that the government can do to alleviate traffic on the ground immediately without resorting to emergency powers,” he said.
Meanwhile, a member of Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s legal team, Larry Gadon, believes that using the ports outside Metro Manila can alleviate the traffic problem.
The Senate had started conducting hearings on a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers so that he can better address the traffic problems in Metro Manila and other urban areas. His ally, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, expressed hopes that the House of Representatives will also expedite action on similar measures so that the traffic crisis can be solved as soon as possible.