• MMDA girds for probe on traffic woes

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    THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday expressed readiness to face a Senate probe into the worsening traffic problem in the metropolis.

    MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that the agency welcomes the Senate inquiry adding that they are ready to explain the government’s traffic plan to address the problem.

    Sen. Ralph Recto has called the Senate to step into the worsening traffic mess and scrutinize the soundness of the government’s traffic panacea that would solve decongestion in major thoroughfares and intersections.

    He urged the Senate Committee on Public Services to inquire into the supposed comprehensive traffic program of the government aimed at loosening the traffic gridlocks in major urban centers.

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    Recto stressed the monstrous traffic jams have reached critical level that precious man-hours and resources are being wasted every minute that the metropolis stood still because of logjams.

    “The Senate inquiry would determine if such traffic management plan would actually ease congestion in major urban centers and speed up the safe and efficient movement of people and goods,” Recto said in filing Senate Resolution 5.

    But Tolentino said that the MMDA has already started implementing a traffic decongestion program.

    Besides the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, commonly known as the “number-coding,” the MMDA is also implementing the modified truck ban both aim to decongest traffic in Metro Manila.

    “We are prepared to explain our traffic plan to the Senate inquiry,” Tolentino said.

    For her part, MMDA Organized Bus Route Director Mila Silvestre said that part of the traffic plan is the integrated bus terminal, which is set to open in August.

    The MMDA is mandated to formulate policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares.

    Recto’s move came amid reports that the economy loses about $3.6 billion or P153 billion a year because of traffic congestion, particularly in Metro Manila.

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