To fix traffic, Binay as president to split up DOTC

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay said he would move to expand the country’s railway system and split up the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) should he win the presidency in the May elections.

Kulang talaga tayo ng preparasyon dahil sa masyadong pagod na 'yung mga tren kaya ang maintenance ay naaapektuhan nang todo-todo. Kaya kailangang dagdagan pa natin na ma-expand tayo. I-expand natin ang MRT (Metro Rail Transit), LRT (Light Rail Transit), at i-rehabilitate po natin ang ating mga railways sa tren,” said Binay in an interview with GMA 7’s Wanted:President special, which aired late Sunday evening, January 24.

(We lack the necessary preparation because our trains are overused and is thus affecting their maintenance. That’s why we need to expand our MRT and LRT as well as to rehabilitate the railways of our trains.)

Expanding the railway system in the country has long been part of the platform of the United Nationalist Alliance’s standard-bearer, who now leads in election surveys despite a string of corruption allegations. (READ: Binay's strategy of silence)

In March 2015, Binay promised to redesign and re-engineer the glitch-ridden MRT so it could be a viable option even for those who have their own cars, thus lessening the Metro Manila traffic many now dubbed as “carmageddon.”

Six months later, Binay said he would “personally exercise the authority of the president as chief executive and head of the bureaucracy” to solve the issues surrounding the MRT, including numerous breakdowns, service interruptions, and long queues for passengers.

The DOTC recently announced that MRT 3 users may soon see an improvement in their riding experience with one new train imported from China expected to be launched by March.

Binay said during the interview, however, that he plans to break up the DOTC into two departments: one solely focused on transportation, and another on communications and technology.

Too many attached agencies

According to Binay, the DOTC has far too many agencies attached to it and should be broken down into two departments for the government to be able to focus on solving transportation concerns. 

Ang name of the game ngayon ay 'yung communication and information technology. Biro mo, may coast guard 'yan [sa ilalim ng DOTC]. Merong kung anu-ano 'yan. Mahirap na iisang department ‘yan. Dapat magkaroon ng Department of Communication and Technology at 'yung transportation isa pa ring [agency],” said Binay, who used to head the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

(Communication and information technology is the name of the game now. Think about it, even the coast guard is under the DOTC, among others. It’s difficult to have all of that under one deparment. There should be a Department of Communication and Technology and another agency on transportation.)

Sixteen agencies are currently attached to the DOTC, including the country’s agencies in civil aviation, sea transport and maritime infrastructure, land transportation, and railway system and infrastructure. (READ: Why DOTC toilets stink: Complicated procurement may lead to P352-M wastage)

During his interview, Binay once again slammed President Benigno Aquino III for appointing an “inexperienced” maintenance provider for the mass transit line, and for pinning the blame on his predecessor. 

Hindi ko ho gagawin na magbibintang ako na inabutan ko 'yan nang ganyan. Gagawan ko ho ng solusyon 'yan,” said Binay, who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet last year for its supposed “crooked, failed” governance. (I will not put the blame on others and say this is what is happening when I already got here. I will provide a solution instead.)

During the Vice President’s “True State of the Nation Address” in August 2015, Binay pointed to Aquino and the DOTC as responsible behind the Filipinos’ MRT woes. 

Meanwhile, Binay also told GMA 7 that the port of Manila should be decongested because “70%” of the cargo that arrive there are transported to Laguna, Batangas, or Cavite. (READ: Alternative ports not long-term solution to port congestion)

The Vice President also suggested the consolidation under one official of all the agencies overseeing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other local airports. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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