Senate hearing on ‘hellish‘ EDSA jams set Tuesday

Senator Grace Poe, head of the Senate public services committee, will question transport officials on Tuesday over the “hellish” traffic choking EDSA and bringing untold misery to the public.

Concerned sectors were also called to a public hearing on Aug. 13 to explain the gridlock on EDSA amid the test run for the EDSA provincial bus ban.

The panel will tackle Senate Resolution 954 seeking an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the proposed provincial bus ban along the major artery.

Matinding kalbaryo na naman ang nararanasan ng ating mga kababayang dumadaan sa  EDSA. Maniningil tayo ng paliwanag at hindi natin palalagpasin ang kailangang managot sa kaguluhang ito,” Poe said..

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority says the completion of the infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program will cut the transport cost in Metro Manila from P3.5 billion daily in 2017 to around P2.13 billion per day in 2022.

NEDA says this estimate could be achieved aside from reducing traffic congestion that has been a daily occurrence for the past several years in the metropolis.

In a meeting led by Public Works Secretary Mark Villar on Aug. 5, the committee endorsed for the NEDA board’s approval the results and recommendations of the Follow-up Survey on the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for the Greater Capital Region or the Roadmap 2.

Poe said the traffic schemes and policies should consider both vehicles and people.

The monstrous traffic reportedly came amid the implementation of the yellow lane for buses and the dry run for the provincial bus ban on EDSA.

Poe said the proposed scheme should be thoroughly scrutinized, especially amid the public clamor to suspend it and the legal questions raised by some groups before the courts.

“We will thresh out all these issues in a productive dialogue where all stakeholders will have a voice and will be part of the solution,” Poe said.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Pangilinan has taken up the cudgels for commuters and called on the Metro Manila Development Authority to stop its “anti-family, anti-progress” experiments on EDSA.

“Think of the commuters’ circumstances in the experiments to ease traffic jams,” Pangilinan said.

He said commuters who make up 70 percent of the road users use only 20 percent of the roads, but their space is further being limited.

“We ask not only for consideration but also for the use of logic,” said Pangilinan who has proposed the Magna Carta for Dignified Commuting. 

“Who suffer from ‘carmageddon’? Mothers and fathers who barely see their children. Children who are exhausted by the trip. Everyone who waste their time in traffic. Solutions must be related to those who suffer from this mess,” Pangilinan said. 

The magna carta, or Senate Bill 775, seeks to ensure that the millions of commuters nationwide are entitled to a public transport system that is safe, convenient, reliable and affordable. It also proposes to create a National Office on Commuter Affairs, aiming for a shift to a more sustainable transportation policy that provides safe access and mobility to all, promote economic development, preserve the environment and ultimately uplift the lives of all commuters.

After the heavy traffic congestion last week, the MMDA limited buses to the two rightmost lanes of EDSA, reserving the rest of the lanes to private vehicles. 

The implementation coincided with the dry-run of the proposed provincial bus ban despite a preliminary injunction from a Quezon City court last week. These caused confusion and even more congestion on the roads. 

Topics: Grace Poe , Senate , EDSA , National Office on Commuter Affairs , Metro Manila Development Authority
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