SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
House members have expressed support for the proposed increase in the 2018 budget of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in a move to address the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.
At the resumption of the hearing on the MMDA budget, Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) expressed support for the request of MMDA for the inclusion of the following amounts in the agency’s proposed P7.19 billion budget for next year: (1) P90 million for the hazard pay of traffic enforcers; and (2) P164 million for the hiring of 1,000 additional traffic enforcers with hazard pay
He cited the traffic personnel’s diligence, hardwork, and the risk they are taking in the performance of their duties.
Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, expressed hope that the said amounts would be considered during the final deliberation on the MMDA budget.
Castelo also raised concerns on the delay in the payment of salaries of MMDA street sweepers, which he said, hopefully will no longer happen as the allocation is already lumped from the Road Board to the MMDA.
Rep. Federico Sandoval II (Lone District, Malabon) recommended that the MMDA be given an initial amount of P10 million for the purchase of drones to be used in traffic management.
The MMDA officials led by chairman Danilo Lim, also requested for an additional allocation of P582.916 million in preparation for the “Big One,” or a 7.2 magnitude earthquake which is expected to hit Metro Manila.
Rep. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), vice chairman of the committee on appropriations, who presided over the budget hearing of the MMDA budget, said he and his colleagues will do their best to have it included in the 2018 National Expenditure
Rep. France Castro (Party-list, ACT TEACHERS) raised queries about the number of MMDA personnel, the deteriorating traffic condition in Metro Manila, bus terminals, and modernization of traffic management.
Rep. Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City) pointed out that MMDA is vested with a lot of powers and responsibilities, among which are development planning, transport and traffic, solid waste disposal, flood control, and urban renewal.
He asked MMDA officials if the MMDA Charter is sufficient to carry out the said functions.
Go told agency officials that, if needed, he and his colleagues may introduce legislative measures that can help the MMDA in fulfilling its mandate.
Rep. Vincent Crisologo (1st District, Quezon City) suggested the implementation, even for a week or a month, of an odd-even scheme along EDSA to see how it can ease the traffic situation.
The MMDA officials told the committee that the agency is submitting a proposed amendment to the allocation on the flood control projects.
The agency explained that the amendment will equalize the flood control allotment for all the 32 congressional districts in Metro Manila, with each district getting P36.750 million.
Vargas informed the committee members and MMDA officials that the plenary deliberations on the budget of MMDA will be onSeptember 5 at 10 a.m.
House members cited the good relations between the lawmakers and the MMDA as the reason for the expeditious committee discussion on the MMDA budget. / ABR