METRO Manila’s worsening traffic congestion can be blamed on the failure of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to perform its transport and traffic management mandate, a transportation expert said Monday.
Engineer Rene Santiago said there is a breakdown of traffic management because no one is in charge of the traffic situation.
Traffic management is one of the mandates of the MMDA currently chaired by Francis Tolentino, who is reportedly planning to run for senator in 2016.
“The official in charge is busy trying to project himself in preparation for his senatorial bid,” Santiago said in a radio interview.
He noted that the MMDA leadership seems to have lost the drive to perform its mandate, the reason why the traffic situation in the metropolis is a mess.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently said traffic congestion in Metro Manila is costing P2.4 billion a day and it could go up to P6 billion by 2013 if the problem is not addressed.
Santiago said former MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando did a better job in managing traffic problems.
“Although I disagree with many policies of Bayani (Fernando) you can see that he was in charge, he was on top, he is enforcing the law,” he added.
But the transport consultant made it clear that the traffic congestion should not be attributed to the MMDA alone because local government units also have a role to play particularly in clearing the roads and sidewalks of illegal vendors.
Malacanang recently appealed to the public to be patient with regards to the heavy traffic situation in Metro Manila.
Santiago said the appeal is a clear indication that the administration is not concerned about the traffic situation since President Benigno Aquino 3rd did nothing for the past five years to address the problem.
“Since when has the president really sat down and called his people and attended to traffic? There is no instance in the last five years that the President expressed his concern about traffic,” he said.
The Manila Times contacted Tolentino several times but he did not respond.
One of his staff said he was in a Cabinet meeting.
Tolentino has attributed the traffic woes to heavy vehicle volume and traffic accident.