SEN. Mary Grace Poe on Sunday said Congress might consider expanding the powers of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to enable it to effectively address traffic woes in Metro Manila and adjacent areas.
The Senate Committee on Public Services, which Poe heads, will resume on Tuesday the public hearing on the proposal to ban provincial buses along EDSA in a bid to find solutions to Metro Manila’s traffic mess.
Poe said her committee would review MMDA’s traffic management powers to see if they had the authority to implement policies such as the bus ban.
“The traffic in the country is a situation that requires all hands on deck. We need all the help we can get,” Poe said.
She added that Congress would also consider giving MMDA “expanded powers” so that it could better tackle traffic woes.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Martin Delgra 3rd are expected to attend the Senate inquiry.
Leaders of transport groups and private operators will also be present.
Poe has asked the MMDA and the Department of Transportation to submit the transport master plan program that the agencies intend to implement to ease the traffic gridlock.
“Araw-araw na nagtitiis ang ating mga kababayan sa kalsada (Our fellowmen endure traffic jams in major roads everyday,” Poe said.
“Huwag naman sanang dumating ang araw na mas maraming oras pa tayong nasa kalye kaysa sa trabaho o pamilya (Let us not wait for the day wherein we have to spend more time on the road than in our work place or with our family),” she added.
“Lahat tayo ay sabik na sabik na makakita ng solusyon sa problemang ito… Kailangan tamang plano at tamang direksyon ang gagawin natin (We’re all excited to see the solution to this [traffic] problem… We just need the right plan and the right direction),” the senator continued.