While absolutely agreeing that EDSA’s perennial traffic woes need to be addressed immediately, Senator-elect Richard J. Gordon is not convinced that there is a need to grant emergency powers to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte as a solution.
Gordon said he is more inclined to granting special powers to the new president in the exercise of police power of the state.
“Traffic management is part of the police power of the state. You don’t need emergency powers there. What you need are special powers. Special powers – I will support that. I just want it to say you are giving him extra powers to conduct legislation na hindi ka na makikiusap sa local governments,” he said.
“Kasi ang gulo dito e. Metro Manila has an MMDA Chairman who is not followed by the local governments, so toothless,” the senator further explained.
Gordon noted that with special powers, the Duterte administration could impose new traffic rules for EDSA such as allowing only vehicles with four passengers on EDSA on certain hours, and imposing fees to vehicles carrying less than four passengers to take EDSA which would provide additional income for the government.
He added the incoming administration could also implement other programs such as putting in double-decker buses that could carry more passengers, fast-tracking the construction of overhead highways, underground rails or above ground rails, and banning giant malls along highways because they cause traffic jams.
According to the senator, one of the best ways of solving the problem is to decongest Manila by dispersing industries to Central and Southern Luzon and all the way to Northern Luzon but ensuring that there will be sufficient provisions for living spaces.
“You need to decongest Manila, disperse them to Central and Southern Luzon, all the way to Northern Luzon. When you disperse people out of Manila, one of the things that you should put there is a provision for living space. Meaning to say, may big, open parks na matatakbuhan o parang liwasang bayan pero evacuation area mo yun. Meron kang dedicated areas like in England, meron silang underground tubes na pupuntahan pag may air raids,” Gordon stressed.
“Dispersing industries is also a way of pump-priming the economy because it would mean more infrastructure. Maggigiba ka at gagawa ng panibago. Pero bago mo gibain meron ka nang industrial parks sa Central Luzon na pwede ng lipatan. Gagawa ka rin ng mga bahay sa Central Luzon para yung mga magtatrabaho dun hindi na sila magiging sanhi ng traffic. Meron na ako dating bill tungkol diyan, yung 3-3-1 na naglayon na ma-optimize ang gamit ng mga airports, seaports at highway sa Central Luzon at Manila para makakuha ng mas maraming foreign investments. Maari pa itong palawakin para maisama ang Southern Luzon,” he added.