SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House committee on Metro Manila development conducted a hearing on the progress of railway projects being undertaken by the Department of Transportation and Railways (DOTr).
During the hearing, House members scrutinized the DOTr railway projects in Metro Manila, and lamented the lack of consultation with local government units (LGUs) and respective House members in project planning and implementation.
Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), committee chairman, said the purpose of the hearing is for House members to be apprised and updated on all DOTr projects, especially the railways, so there will be smooth flow in carrying out the said projects.
He pointed out that there have been no consultations undertaken on the agency’s projects. He said it is only when implementation problems and issues crop up that the House members are briefed and consulted.
“We are always kept in the dark. Pagka may problema, that is the time that they approach us,” Castelo said.
Rep. Federico Sandoval II (Lone District, Malabon City) queried about the cost, date of completion, and other details of the DOTr’s subway project.
He asked the department officials to reconcile the need of the riding public to have a lower fare on one hand and for the government and the private sector to impose the right fare in order to support the subway system.
“Ganito ang nangyari sa atin sa MRT. It has become so politicized na sa sobrang tagal, di tayo makapagtaas ng pamasahe. Time pa lang ni GMA gusto na nating itaas ito, but because of the clamor of the public to keep it low, di naman natin maserbisan ang maintenance ng mga tren natin,” Sandoval pointed out.
Rep. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City) asked about the details of the Quirino-Mindanao Avenue station of the subway project and the MRT Line 7.
He asked DOTr and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officials to come up with a plan on how to address the traffic congestion in the areas where the said subway and MRT Line 7 stations will eventually be put up.
Vargas also asked the MMDA to exert more effort in alleviating the worsening traffic situation in the Fairview-Novaliches area, saying that it has been adversely affecting the people’s daily lives.
Rep. Bayani Fernando (1st District, Marikina City) complained that the east of Metro Manila, with its more than six million residents, seems to have been left out in the planned subway project.
He urged DOTr officials to come up with strategic plans in carrying out the railway projects in Metro Manila and in the rest of the country.
“When we consider putting up a line, the first thing we have to consider is ridership, because ridership will determine the financial viability of the project, [if the project] will be successful,” Fernando stressed.
Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo (6th District, Manila) said she welcomes the railway projects but said there should be consultations with LGUs, especially in putting up the stations.
She said the location of the stations might create problems for the LGU, like traffic congestion.
Ocampo urged the DOTr officials to require the project contractors to get workers from the area where the project is located.
Reps. Manuel Luis Lopez (1st District, Manila) and Jesulito Manalo (Party-list, ANGKLA) chided the DOTr for not consulting with the LGUs and lawmakers regarding the agency’s projects, saying the local executives and House members know the problems and concerns of their constituents. / ABR