Monday, September 26, 2016

Albay solon files House Bill vs 'traffic congestion crisis’
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 26 (PNA) —- Albay second district Representative Joey Salceda filed House Bill No. 3712 which will grant emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte so that the traffic congestion crisis in Metro Manila could be immediately resolved.

He said studies have established that the massive and traffic congestion in the country has become a “national emergency” requiring “immediate, decisive and comprehensive solutions.”

Salceda said Waze, an international traffic software application, reported that Metro Manila had the worst traffic in the world in 2015.

Citing Waze, he said Metro Manila residents spend 1,000 hours in traffic per year while metropolitan areas in other countries spend only 300 hours.

The Albay solon cited a report of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which said that land and air traffic congestion is costing the country losses in potential income of P2.4 billion daily.

“The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) added this daily losses will balloon to P6 billion by 2030 if no intervention is undertaken,” said Salceda.

He said JICA also reported that more cars on the road are causing a rise in greenhouse emissions from 4.7 million tons per year in 2012 to 5.7 million tons per year by 2030, thus “causing a staggering cost in human health and climate change.”

Salceda said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has reported that airport congestion is causing the airlines at least P7 billion per year in fuel and engine maintenance costs.

The Albay lawmaker noted the everyday nightmare experienced by commuters in Metro Manila.

“There is no lack of daily reminders of the pervasive traffic crisis with personal stories of friends and family members missing out on their personal and professional lives because they spend literally half of their day in cars, jeepneys, buses, and planes wallowing in traffic,” he said.

Salceda said what is lacking is a solution that will stop the crisis from escalating and spreading to other urban hubs such as Cebu and Davao.

He said HB 3712 mandates the formulation of a decongestion and transportation network development reform plan for four sectors--land-based, rail transport and toll roads, air-based and seaports.

The bills seeks the designation of a traffic crisis manager under the Department of Transportation, grant of authority for special modes of procurement, safeguards in implementing the executive order on Freedom of Information to ensure transparency and accountability and creation of a congressional oversight committee.

Salceda said the House Bill provides an initial P20 billion to jump start the traffic reform plan which can be sourced from the current year’s budget of the agencies implementing the measure and from savings of the national government

He added the House Bill is in line with Article 2, Section 10 of the Philippine Constitution “to promote social justice in all phases of national development. (PNA) LAP/GVR/MDR/CBD