Sara Duterte: Let traffic emergency powers cover Davao City

TRAFFIC CRISIS IN DAVAO. House Transportation Committee Chair Cesar V. Sarmiento and Deputy Speaker Raneo Raine Abu preside over the hearing on the Traffic Crisis Bill at the Grand Menseng Hotel in Davao City on Tuesday, October 18. Photo from Davao City government

TRAFFIC CRISIS IN DAVAO. House Transportation Committee Chair Cesar V. Sarmiento and Deputy Speaker Raneo Raine Abu preside over the hearing on the Traffic Crisis Bill at the Grand Menseng Hotel in Davao City on Tuesday, October 18.

Photo from Davao City government

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte-Carpio is pushing for her city to be among the areas covered by the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act of 2016.

If the traffic proposal is passed, President Rodrigo Duterte will be granted emergency powers to remedy the traffic crisis in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities like Cebu. 

"We want to be included in the emergency powers of the President, just like Metro Manila and Cebu," the mayor said in a press statement released Wednesday, October 19.

The day before, a public hearing on the traffic crisis in Davao City was held to consult with the transport sector and local officials on whether or not the city should be covered by the proposed Act.

The hearing was led by House Transportation Committee Chair Cesar V. Sarmiento and Deputy Speaker Raneo Raine Abu. Committee Vice Chair Cesar Sarmiento, Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Martin Delgra were also present during the meeting.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said previously that Duterte can have emergency powers to deal with the traffic crisis for at most two years. 

Traffic in Metro Manila is estimated to be costing the country about P3 billion ($64 million) a day – equivalent to about 0.8% of gross domestic product, previous reports said.

Same sentiments

Davao City Administrator Zuleika Lopez echoed the appeal of the Davao City mayor. 

"With the way urban development is happening in Davao City now, there is an urgent need to complement these with effective measures and traffic mitigation programs," Lopez said.

Lopez also said the city is working on various proposals to remedy the traffic problem in the city. These include management of the volume of car ownership, congestion management, elevated tollways, mass transport system, walkways, bikeways, and multi-level parking facilities.

Jose Thor Villarreiz, Davao City manager of taxi service Grab, agreed that emergency powers should include Davao City.

"If it could mean the fast implementation of projects and programs that would improve roads and ease traffic congestion, then I think it is worthy of support," he said.

Another public hearing will be held on Thursday, October 20, at the House of Representatives to further discuss the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act. – Khristine Montenegro/Rappler.com