OCCIDENTAL Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato is calling for a policy review on the issuance of land transportation franchises and urged the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to find ways to help ease traffic in major urban centers.
Sato, a member of the House committee on transportation, said the DoTr and LTFRB should jointly assess traffic situations with particular focus on improving public transport system.
“When was the last time the DoTC and LTFRB reviewed the franchise issued for public utility buses and public utility jeeps? It is time to solve the puzzle why private motor vehicle owners continue to bring their cars despite the expected traffic. Are their destinations accessible by public transportation?” Sato, a member of the Commission on Appointments (CA), asked.
Sato issued the call as the House of Representatives tackles the emergency powers sought by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to address the country’s traffic woes, particularly thickly populated areas.
He said there are other ways to ease traffic without necessarily setting aside important government processes, including procurement and government contracting procedures.
“Proper traffic management, enforcement of traffic rules and discipline are the key ingredients,” said Sato.
She said the DoTr and LTFRB should get an accurate count of franchises it issued as against the number of public utility vehicles and re-engineer their routes.
The lawmaker said the DoTr should come up with an assessment of traffic situations, and short-term and long-term solutions.
“We should learn to use our secondary roads more to decongest our major thoroughfares,” she said.
Sato said the DoTr and LTFRB should make the routes of PUBs and PUJs more efficient to encourage the people to use public transportation more rather than cough out money for gasoline, parking and endure traffic.
“Private motor vehicles will not bring their cars and endure traffic everyday unless necessary. If their destinations can be reached by bus or jeep faster, there is no reason for them to bring their car to work,” she said.
Sato said DoTr can also use as reference various studies conducted by experts aimed at addressing traffic woes.
After a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2014, it recommended the transfer of Manila North Harbor and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Batangas and Sangley Point in Cavite, respectively, to decongest Metro Manila, a high growth area populated by over 12 million people. Plans, she said, should take into account factors such as population growth, potential for development, commercialization and migration trends.
DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who has yet to get the nod of the constitutional body, which screens presidential appointment, said to boost mobility and connectivity, the government needs to invest heavily on infrastructure projects.