MANILA, Philippines – Solving the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila goes beyond improving public transportation and promising railway systems. To ensure the completion of all pending transportation-related projects, Senator Grace Poe proposed appointing a "traffic terminator," while Vice President Jejomar Binay wants to split up the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
During the 3rd presidential debate in Pangasinan on Sunday, April 24, the 5 candidates for the presidency were asked about their concrete plans to solve the traffic problem that keeps many Filipinos wasting hours on the road to get to and from work. (READ: Plans and promises: Presidential bets on transportation, infrastructure)
While Senator Miriam Santiago and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte cited the need to build railway systems and improve the train lines in Metro Manila, Poe and Binay pointed to failure in implementation as one of the reasons behind the traffic congestion. (READ: Fixing traffic: Are presidential bets proposals viable for PH cities?)
Poe said she plans to appoint a "traffic terminator" whose sole job is to oversee the progress of transportation projects.
While she did not name names, she said the person who should be appointed to the post must have an engineering background and expertise in traffic management.
"Maraming magagandang plano, pero 'pag di nai-implement, balewala," she said.
Binay, meanwhile, took a swipe at the administration for its faulty execution of its transportation projects.
"Ang mga plano, sayang lang kung walang karanasan at kakayahang magpatupad," he said.
Binay also reiterated his earlier proposal to split up the DOTC into two departments so that one would be devoted solely to transportation-related programs.
But Manuel Roxas II, who used to be transportation chief, said that he would do the opposite of Binay's proposal, and fuse the DOTC with the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Roxas said this would ensure that there would be coherence in the plans related to infrastructure and transportation.
The administration standard-bearer also said that many of his rivals' proposals to solve traffic are already being implemented.
"'Yung mga ipinapangako pa lang ng mga katunggali, ginagawa na. Sa MRT, bawat buwan, [may] bagong bagon. By the end of the year, 144 na bagon o railcar. Sa MRT7, nag-groundbreak na. Yung LRT2 extension, ginagawa na at matatapos by 2017," he said.
(What my rivals are promising are already being implemented. There's a new coach for the MRT every month; by the end of the year, 114 railcars. We've broken ground for the MRT7. The LRT2 extension has started and will be finished by 2017.)
He also brought up his earlier proposal to terminate bus franchises and bid them out, so that only one operator will take charge of a particular route and avoid too many buses competing for passengers and clogging up road space. – Rappler.com