THE METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Sunday it had begun assessing operations of the Southwest Integrated Provincial Terminal (SWIPT) in Parañaque City, which could be transferred to another site.
MMDA General Manager and concurrent officer in charge Tim Orbos, in a statement, said the agency was evaluating the status of the terminal’s operations.
The measure was in response to an inspection of the terminal by Sen. Grace Poe, head of the Senate Committee on Public Services, who called it “a living hell for commuters who need to go home to Cavite or Batangas.”
Orbos clarified that the SWIPT is only a temporary station, while the MMDA waits for the completion of a permanent terminal to be built by the Department of Transportation.
The project was supposed to be completed last year. But construction was delayed and the expected date of completion was moved to 2018.
Based on MMDA data, the number of buses using SWIPT has declined to just 200 from 1,000.
Orbos said provincial buses making U-turns on Buendia Avenue in Makati City contribute heavily to the traffic buildup on the thoroughfare.
The MMDA has referred the matter to the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT), he said, noting that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade had directed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to look into its previous issuances allowing provincial buses to enter Manila.
Tugade has instructed Transportation Undersecretary Anneli Lontoc to look into franchises issued to provincial bus operators and revoke these if necessary, Orbos added.
Around 800 provincial buses may have been allowed to enter Manila because of these LTFRB permits, he said.
Orbos added that the MMDA was eyeing negotiations with owners of a vacant lot near the SWIPT, one of the locations being considered for its transfer.
“We’ll be renting this out. We are looking into its legality, if we can transfer the facility there. We are also looking at our budget. We have to make sure it will be enough. We’ll have to negotiate with the owners and maybe they can shoulder the other requirements,” he said.