The MMDA frenzy
AS A MATTER OF FACT
By Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) Updated July 16, 2012 12:00 AM
How can you expect MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to solve our traffic frenzy? Other government sectors especially the LTO and LTFRB must come into the picture to help and support this fight. But it seems that no one is lending a hand. The public only sees Chairman Tolentino doing all the work. Susmariosep! The LTO, LTFRB, DPWH, DOTC and the LGUs should start working together with the MMDA to get rid of this horrific problem.
Whenever there is traffic, flooding (or any major calamity), flood control, sewerage and drainage problems, garbage problems, solid waste management problems, urban health and sanitation problems, squatter problems and pollution problems, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters? Superman? Iron Man? Batman? No, you call MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
What a gargantuan task for the Chairman! I think our country is still in its primeval developmental stage of growth. We should break these responsibilities up so each service which is very crucial for nation-building can be thoroughly studied, planned and then implemented. The Chairman’s present job is no joke at all! We need all services mentioned above to be acted upon and one man cannot do it alone.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is among the many government agencies that has a love-hate relationship with the public. We tend to blame the MMDA for everything. And we think that the MMDA is not doing its job efficiently. Like if you are one of those who has to stand on long queues at the MRT station, push your way into a crowded bus and sit in traffic for a long time in a smelly bus or taxi and then end up being late for work, school or an important appointment – the tendency is to curse the MMDA.
Such was the situation last week when the MMDA chairman decided to indefinitely bar passenger buses and trucks from using EDSA’s flyovers, tunnels and underpasses. This move caused traffic gridlocks along the main highway and blood pressure to rise amongst commuters and drivers. As a matter of fact, it took a commuter more than four hours to travel last week from Fairview to Sucat.
The “yellow lane” scheme implemented last week proved one thing that can no longer be denied. There are too many buses plying EDSA. Tolentino said that ideally there should only be around 2,000 vehicles going through EDSA and not 12,000. Attention! LTFRB what’s going on?
Our government must have foresight. Its role is to plan ahead to avoid complications. Where does the buck stop and where do initiatives and controls begin?
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It’s about time the President and his men review all the functions and responsibilities of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). This office is actually responsible for services that have metro-wide impact and transcend local political boundaries, or entail huge expenditures beyond the capability of the individual local government units (LGUs) of Metropolitan Manila. These services include: (1) development (of basic infrastructure) planning; (2) transport and traffic management which include all traffic enforcement operations, traffic engineering services, traffic education programs and the institution of a single ticketing system in Metropolitan Manila; (3) solid waste disposal and management which include proper and sanitary waste disposal, establishment and operation of sanitary land-fill and the implementation of programs intended to reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste; (4) flood control drainage and sewerage management; (5) urban renewal, zoning and land use planning, and shelter services, that provide direction to urban growth and expansion, the rehabilitation and development of slum and blighted areas, the development of shelter and housing facilities and the provision of necessary social services; (6) health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control, which include the promotion and safeguarding of the health and sanitation of the region and for the enhancement of ecological balance and the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution; and (7) public safety, preparedness for preventive or rescue operations during times of calamities and disasters such as conflagrations, earthquakes, flood and tidal waves, and coordination and mobilization of resources and the implementation of contingency plans for the rehabilitation and relief operations in coordination with national agencies concerned.
According to Pulse Asia survey done in March 2012, MMDA under the leadership of Chairman Francis Tolentino gained the highest performance approval rating at 64.1 percent. I have seen many improvements on the roads and highways which have not been addressed way back then (around 5 years ago) in the previous administrations. In EDSA, I would always see some areas that are very unsafe like a steel rod protruding out on the road waiting for a victim. Then I told myself I wonder if the MMDA people even bother to notice such nuisance. Then lo and behold a few months after the new chairman was installed the areas that I used to monitor improved. Then I confirmed to myself that this group is really working hard day and night. Aside from the steel bars, I was worried about the cemented barriers (used as road dividers) placed in the middle of the road causing a lot of accidents and even deaths. The new administration replaced them with orange plastic tubes/ barriers making us feel so much safer. The installations of high-resolution cameras, the implementation of motorcycle lanes, the LED traffic advisory boards, the MMDA applications in the smartphones are among such improvements. Of course we want more improvements but I really think the Chairman has his hands full.
In fact, we have seen the Chairman swinging from one tree to the next like Tarzan. He has been in the streets literally waving his hands to smoothen the flow of traffic. He has patiently been out there in the battlefield even evoking God in his work. But despite all his efforts we know that he cannot do this alone. DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas must intercede and show the people his power and ability as a leader to resolve all these frenzy. If not by the time the Chairman is relieved from his job, this young energetic, gwapo and well-intended man will probably look old and gray. Sanamagan!