By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Metro Manila mayors are set to discuss proposals for the lifting of the number coding scheme for public transport vehicles.
This was the commitment made by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) during the technical working group meeting Tuesday of the Senate public services committee chaired by Senator Grace Poe.
The MMDA was represented by Engr. Emilio Llavor of the Road Safety Unit.
A release from Poe’s office Wednesday said the MMDA “committed to putting in the next MMC (Metro Manila Council) meeting’s agenda the proposal to lift all coding schemes on public transport within a certain window for all Metro Manila cities.”
The traffic enforcement agency is supposedly looking at a possible window hours of between 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The MMC is MMDA’s policy making body which approves programs and regulations.
When asked about the proposed emergency powers for President Duterte and the specific projects that require special power, meanwhile, the MMDA reportedly conceded that “it is mainly a coordinating body and any grant of emergency powers to the traffic czar might not redound directly to the MMDA.”
The MMDA, instead, cited some projects that need expanded powers on their part “to arrive at more sustainable solutions.”
The agency will submit to the committee its short, medium, and long-term projects regarding this request.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in an interview Wednesday, however, said this will require the amendment of the Republic Act No. 7924 which created the MMDA.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier said that that traffic management was not part of its mandate, with Secretary Arthur Tugade pointing out such was within the MMDA’s mandate.
Under the proposed emergency powers bill, the DOTr secretary will be designated as the President’s traffic czar.
Also cited as a salient point in the Tuesday meeting was the mention of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) created in 2016 to improve traffic situation in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna.
The council is composed of the DOTr, MMDA, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Armed Forces of the Philippines and local government units through the MMC and the Liga ng mga Barangays.
“The I-ACT is currently operational even without emergency powers,” Poe’s release noted.
Another TWG meeting will be conducted where DOTr officials are expected to expound on their plans about the proposed emergency powers grant.