SAYING that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) cannot solve the traffic problem in Metro Manila alone, a lawmaker called on Malacañang to consider the creation of government “superbody” that will be in charge of all traffic-related concerns in Metro Manila.
According to Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, it is time for the government to take traffic congestion problem seriously considering the amount of money wasted because of road congestion as a result of the failure concerned government agencies to strictly implement traffic laws.
Ejercito said the superbody, should be composed of experts from the Department of Public Works and Highways; Department of Transportation and Communications and probably the MMDA.
“There should be a concerted effort of the different government agencies because I don’t think the MMDA can do it alone, it has to be a superbody,” Ejercito said in an interview with The Manila Times.
The young senator was reacting to the pronouncement made by a newly formed group called The Red (Respect Equals Discipline) that road congestion in Metro Manila costs P140 billion a year in lost investments, reduced capital inflow and wastages.
The group cited two studies made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Department of Transportation and Communications and a 2011 study by the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies.
The direct losses are attributed to wasted gasoline, lost labor hours, employment of traffic aides and wasted electricity; the indirect losses refer to withdrawal of potential foreign investments, missed business opportunities and reduced capital inflow.
Ejercito, a former member of the Metro Manila Council, the policy making arm of the MMDA, noted that despite of the existing policies that would decongest the major thoroughfares in the metropolis, illegal PUV still manage to operate fearlessly.
He said the first priority should be to decongest EDSA; this means the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board should seriously implement the policy against illegal vehicles or those buses that are operating without franchise and those franchise holders but operate outside their designated route.