DEPUTY Speaker Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd) is mulling over the creation of a body that would be tasked to address perennial problems, such as traffic congestion, across borders.
The lawmaker said he will consult all Cebu legislators and heads of local government units (LGU) for their inputs on the bill that he plans to file.
“The advantage of having this body would be consistency in policy, monitoring and enforcement,” Garcia said in a series of text messages sent to Capitol reporters on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020.
He further said: “Traffic does not respect boundaries. In fact, traffic management in one LGU affects other LGUs. So, there should be a body that sees the big picture and with the power to manage traffic accordingly.”
Garcia, though, clarified that local traffic enforcers would not be displaced as the body would focus solely on managing traffic along national roads.
“There is no intention to strip traffic management boards of their power to regulate traffic in local roads. Section 33 of the Local Government Code encourages inter-LGU cooperation on matters like delivery of services. This bill would provide legislative support,” he said.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, the lawmaker’s eldest sister and predecessor in the third district, expressed her support for the bill that her brother plans to file.
“There has to be a body that oversees, rises above each individual strategy of each individual LGU,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo northern Cebu tour.
The governor said having a body like the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) could create a holistic solution to Cebu’s traffic woes.
“He (Pablo John) is now reviewing the MMDA law. Cross-border concerns could be discussed by the proposed body. But right now, the number one priority is the traffic,” she said.
Republic Act 7924, which created the MMDA and defined its powers and functions, took effect on March 1, 1995, under the administration of then President Fidel Ramos.
According to its official website, the MMDA’s role is to assist the 17 political units in Metro Manila in crafting and implementing an integrated development plan characterized by “unity of purpose, innovation, resiliency, sustainability, adaptability and creativity in meeting the challenges of transport decongestion, climate change, waste management and disaster prevention, among others.”
Cebu traffic board
For the time being, the Provincial Government will focus on the Provincial Traffic Management Board, which is tasked to give solutions to the traffic problems along national highways in the metropolitan Cebu area.
Filed by sixth district Provincial Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco, who heads the committee on planning and development, the measure creating the Traffic Management Board of Cebu was approved on second and final reading last Monday afternoon, Jan. 20.
The body will have as members officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Philippine National Police, among others.
The League of Municipalities and local government units in Metro Cebu, on the other hand, will be part of the advisory council.
The approval of the proposed ordinance came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte promised in his speech during the Sinulog in Cebu City that he would help Cebuanos address the “horrendous” traffic in the metro by finding funds for a traffic solution project. (RTF)