THE Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Tuesday defended the P1.2 billion increase in its proposed budget for next year.
In defending his move, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that the big chunk of the proposed budget will be allocated to upgrade the traffic signal system in the metropolis.
Tolentino issued the justification in response to the statement made by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto that the MMDA’s proposed budget for 2014 has been increased by P1.2 billion.
He said the agency’s proposed budget for next year is pegged at P2.65 billion, which is P1.2 billion higher than this year’s P1.48 billion.
But Tolentino stressed that from the said amount, P399 million will be allocated to upgrade Metro Manila’s outdated traffic lights.
“There is a need to modernize the 161 traffic signal system, which has been built as early as 1970s,” he told reporters.
He said majority of these obsolete traffic signals usually malfunction especially during the rainy season.
The project, Tolentino added, will cover replacement of local controllers, installation of loop detectors and cabinets, replacement of all signal cables and power cables, and traffic signal lanterns with LED lantern.
Recto earlier said that as part of the innovations introduced in the 2014 national budget, the MMDA has identified key result areas which will serve as performance indicators. He said MMDA pledges 29 kph traffic flow.
“The MMDA’s budget is booked in the national budget as Allocations to Local Government,” he added.
On top of what it will receive from the national government, the MMDA is authorized to use collections from fines, fees and charges it may impose as well as mandatory remittances by its member local government units (LGUs).
On traffic management, Recto said MMDA vowed to achieve an average travel speed of 29 kilometers per hour on the 197 kilometers of road under its management.
He said this can be used as baseline data in measuring improvement as we hope that vehicle velocity will gradually increase in the years to come.
“It has also pledged a maximum 15-minute response time to 90 percent of traffic obstruction cases. It will repair 98 percent traffic signal outages within two hours,” he added.
Another target it has imposed upon itself is to limit fatalities from vehicular accidents to one third of one percent of total cases, according to Recto.