House committee approves creation of Traffic Crisis Inter-Agency Management Council

Maris Federez   •   September 25, 2019   •   480

A general view of the traffic along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Simulation Lanes rehearsal in Manila, Philippines, 09 November 2015. EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday (Sept. 25) approved the House Resolution No. 353 which seeks the creation of the Traffic Crisis Inter-Agency Management Council.

This, even with the Executive department’s decision to withdraw its earlier request for emergency powers to solve the country’s worsening traffic problem.

The resolution targets to consolidate and harmonize the national and local government agencies and units in their policies on traffic and transportation.

The fast approval of the resolution was made possible because of the support of the agencies present in the hearing, such as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Land Transportations Office (LTO), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“Bawat isa mayroong role na makakatulong sa pagpapaluwag ng ating trapiko. Pati yung konstruksyon and repair ng ating road facilities. Tapos yung traffic sign. Tapos pagtutugma tugma naman ng probisyon ng mga traffic ordinances ng mga local government [Each one has its role that will help decongest the traffic. Even the construction and the repair of road facilities. Then the traffic signs. Then the matching of provisions of traffic ordinances of local government units],” LTO’s Asec. Edgar Galvante said.

Nevertheless, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the creation of the said council and the boundaries of its powers must be studied very well so as not to have it overlapped with existing government agencies, such as the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT).

 “We fully support the bill as long as there be no overlapping of functions. kasi nga mas magulo pagka sabi nga nila mas madaming kusinero mas magugulo yung niluluto [because it will be more chaotic, as they say, too many cooks will spoil the broth],” Garcia said.

House Committee on Transportation chairman Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, however, said the council will be more expedient in solving the traffic problem with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the helm, just as what had been the result of the clearing operations that were held nationwide.

“Ang pinakamadali talagang ahensya na humawak ay DILG kasi hawak nila ang local government units. parang sila dapat ang nagrerenda [The best agency to handle it is the DILG as it already handles the local government units. Like they should be the one policing] to harmonize the different policies,” Sarmiento stressed.

Following the resolution’s approval, a technical working group will be formed to discuss its details before it is elevated to and voted upon in the plenary. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

DILG encourages public to start bike commuting to cope with limited mass transport

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is encouraging the public to start bike commuting now that mass transport remains limited. 

He said this will help the public to at least conveniently reach their destinations without being stranded on the streets and increase the risks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. 

Actually iyan ang gusto nating i-promote, iyong malawakang paggamit ng bisikleta nationwide bilang means ng transportation lalo na kung ang pinapasukan mo is within 10 killometers away lang pwedeng-pwede na sa bike iyan,” Año said during an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon.

[Actually, that’s what we’d like to promote, the use of bicycles as means of transportation especially if your workplace is within 10-kilometer distance, that’s very accessible for bikes.]

For now, the national government is not yet allowing back riders on motorbikes, and converting motorbikes into tricycles will also not be possible as they are not allowed on national highways. 

Seeing the high demand nowadays, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is eyeing on regulating the price of bicycles as well as the price of laptops necessary for work-from-home arrangements.

The DTI is asking businessmen to maintain a reasonable price for such goods which are deemed essential nowadays. 

“Hindi masyadong malaki na masyadong masakit for the consumer. Dahil we understand na kailangan din nilang makabawi doon sa mga loses for the past two and a half months pero hindi po para pagsamantalahan na natin ang consumers [An increase that will not hurt the consumers. We understand that they, too, need to recover from their losses from the past two and a half months, but not to the extent that will abuse the consumers],” explained DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

LGUs, hinikayat maglagay ng bike lanes at road network para sa ‘new normal’

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Inatasan ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ang lahat ng local government unit (LGU) na magpagawa ng bike lanes para sa mga manggagawang magbibisikleta papunta sa kanilang trabaho sa gitna ng community quarantine.

Sa isang advisory, inatasan ni DILG Secretary Eduardo Año ang mga gobernador at alkalde na makipag-ugnayan sa kalapit na mga LGU upang maikunekta ang kan-kanilang bike lanes at makagawa ng bicycle road network.

“Dahil sa kakulangan ng pampublikong masasakyan, marami ang magbibisikleta patungo at pabalik sa kanilang mga pinagtatrabahuhan. Dapat handa ang mga bike lanes sa LGUs upang masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga siklista,” ani Año.

Aniya, dapat alinsunod sa disenyo ng Department of Transportation ang designated bike lanes na lalagyan ng plastic bollards, stencil markings at signage para sa kaligtasan ng mga nagbibisikleta.

Sinabi rin ng kalihim na dapat walang nakaharang sa bike lanes upang maiwasan ang anomang aksidente at matiyak na mabilis ang biyahe ng mga siklista.

Sa Omnibus guidelines sa pagpapatupad ng community quarantine, hinihikayat ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang paggamit ng bisikleta at iba pang uri ng hindi de-motor na transportasyon.

“Ngayong tayo ay nasa new normal, hinihikayat natin ang bawa’t isa na gumamit ng mga bike. Mainam sa kalusugan ang pagba-bike, at tsaka, matipid pa.Hindi mo na kailangang bumili pa ng gasolina,” sinabi ni Año.

Inatasan din ng kalihim ang mga LGU na gumawa ng ordinansa na magpapataw ng parusa sa mga lalabag sa paggamit ng bike lanes upang maseguro na sumusunod sa regulasyon ang mga motorista at siklista.

Pina-alalahan rin ang mga LGU sa istriktong pagpapatupad ng health at safety protocols gayundin ang pagsusuot ng face masks ng mga taong gumagamit ng naturang lane at sa lahat ng pampublikong lugar.

“SOP na dapat ang pagsusuot ng masks at physical distancing sa mga pampublikong lugar. Masanay na tayo sa ganitong sitwasyon habang wala pang gamot at vaccine laban sa Covid-19,” sabi nito.

Samantala, nilinaw ng DILG na bawal pa rin sa lansangan ang motor taxis katulad ng Angkas kahit niluwagan na ang quarantine restrictions sa bansa.

“Alam po namin na marami pong umaasa sa Angkas at iba pang motor taxis para makarating sa kanilang trabaho at destinasyon ngunit dahil sa banta ng Covid-19, hindi pa rin pinahihintulutan ng gobyerno ang ganitong mode of transportation dahil sa violation ng physical distancing,” ayon sa DILG.

Ipinagbabawal din ang back-riding sa motorsiklo kahit sa mag-asawa bilang bahagi ng physical distancing measures dahil magkakaroon ng close contact sa pagitan ng dalawang tao na maaaring maging sanhi ng transmission ng Covid-19.

“Naiintindihan natin ang hiling ng marami nating kababayan kaya lang ang pagsakay sa likod ng motorsiklo ay isang malinaw na violation ng physical distancing at mahirap sa kapulisan na i-check ang bawa’t motorcycle kung mag-asawa nga ang nakasakay,” ayon sa kagawaran.

“Kung pahihintulutan naman natin ito, babahain tayo ng maraming violation mula sa mga hindi pinahihintulutan dito. Mas mataas ang panganib na idudulot sa kalusugan kaysa sa mga benepisyong makukuha dito,” dagdag pa nito.

Ilan sa mga maaring masakyan na iminungkahi ng DOTr sa post-pandemic period ay ang bisikleta at modernized PUVs dahil hindi masyadong magkakadikit ang mga tao dito at maiiwasan ang pagkalat ng virus sa mga pasahero.

Sara Duterte urges DOTr to require pre-departure COVID-19 test on airline passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Davao City government is proposing for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to impose a policy requiring airline passengers to undergo a health screening before departure.

In an interview at the Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government has been eyeing to implement this requirement for people flying out of Davao City to ensure that all airline passengers are free from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duterte said they have already proposed this to the DOTr considering that it is more difficult to conduct contact tracing if ever one passenger later turns out positive of the dreaded disease.

She said the screening should be done one to three days before the scheduled flight.

“During sa discussion namo, niingon ang doctor, kung diri ta mag-check ang mahitabo ana kung duna’y positive, mahurot ka-quarantine ang mga airport employees and pati mga airline crew. Nagsulti ang doctor dapat daw ang testing should be done before departure dili upon arrival,” she said.

(During our discussion, the doctor said that if we do the testing here, the worst case scenario is if one will test postive, all airport employees and airline crew will be placed on quarantine. The doctor said that the testing should be done before departure and not upon arrival.)

“So nagsulat mi sa DOTR ug sa national level, nagpadala ta og mga suggestions, nag-ingon ta nga diri sa Davao we will prepare testing before departure, so dapat ang tanang airports ang testing nila is before departure. So kung naa tay makuha nga positive sa mga pasahero, dili na siya makasakay,” she added.

(So we wrote a letter to the DOTr and to the national level, we sent suggestions that here in Davao, we will prepare testing before departure, so it should be done in all airports before departure. So if we find one positive possanger, then he/she ca no longer board the plane.)

Currently, the city only implements testing of passengers arriving via sweeper flights.

Mayor Sara also said that bus and van trips should also be arranged first before allowing commercial flights to resume.

“Nagsulti pud mi nga before i-resume ang commercial flights, ayuson sa ang bus trips ug vans, because kung naa ta’y commercial trips nga moabot ang [mouliay gawas sa Davao City] ma stranded siya sa airport tungod limited ang bus ug vans,” she said. 

(We also informed them that before commercial flights resume, bus and van trips should be fixed first because if we allow commercial flights without transportation outside of Davao City) then they will be stranded here due to limited bus and van trips.)

The city currently allows one bus trip every day and it will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

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