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Comprehensive plan measures called on to ease Metro Manila traffic

A stalwart of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) is calling on concerned government agencies to come up with a comprehensive solution that will effectively ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila which has turned from bad to worse.


Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian made the call in the wake of the Metro Manila Development Authority’s planned implementation of the odd-even scheme for provincial buses plying the busy Epifanio De los Santos Avenue (EDSA) that connects Northern and Southern Metro Manila.


Under the MMDA scheme, provincial buses with plate numbers ending in 1,3,5,7 and 9 will be allowed to use EDSA tunnels from Mondays to Wednesdays. Those ending in 2,4,6,8 and 0 will be allowed to use the tunnels on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Provincial buses are prohibited from using the tunnels on Sundays. The odd-even scheme will be effective starting October 28 until January 4, 2015.


“While we laud the MMDA in finding ways of easing traffic especially during the Christmas season, such stop-gap measure will not solve the traffic congestion as this requires a more comprehensive and strategic solution that will withstand the change in the administration every six years,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House committee on Metro Manila development.


Gatchalian said government agencies concerned with traffic, such as the MMDA, Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), should lead the way in the formulation of a comprehensive plan to ease traffic congestion in the National Capital Region.


Gatchalian warned that the current surge in car sales will further worsen the already nightmarish traffic congestion in the metropolis and because of this, he has filed a bill requiring potential buyers of motor vehicles to submit proof of a parking space before they can purchase and own a car.


In pushing for House Bill 5098, also known as the “Proof of Parking Space Act,” Gatchalian had in mind media reports that car sales in the Philippines are expected to reach 300,000 units by 2015, on the back of a robust economy, growing middle class and increased remittances from overseas Filipino workers.


“Although it is good news for the automotive industry, it is bad news for motorists and commuters, who must brace themselves for slower traffic as more cars join the vehicle population. And traffic congestion in the capital is worsened by the idle vehicles parked on the sides of streets, hampering the flow of automobile and foot traffic,” said Gatchalian, a senior member of the NPC.
Under H.B. 5098, Gatchalian is proposing that buyers of brand new cars, whether individuals or firms, be mandated to execute an affidavit indicating the availability of an existing parking space for the vehicle to be bought. The said affidavit shall be certified by a notary public.


“Any financially-able purchaser of a motor vehicle can be presumed to be able to provide a parking facility for his vehicle,” Gatchalian said in his bill.


Gatchalian pointed out that motor vehicle owners should be made responsible to provide a permanent parking space for their own private vehicles, whether this is made an integral part of their house or building structure or a leased facility.


“The street is primarily intended for vehicular or foot traffic and should not be appropriated as personal parking spaces for these vehicles,” he said.


The “Proof of Parking Space Act” also orders the LTO to make such affidavit a prerequisite in the registration of vehicles. The LTO, the MMDA and concerned local government units are mandated to make ocular inspections in implementing the Act.


Owners found making untrue claims shall have their vehicle registration revoked and will be banned from registering a motor vehicle under their name for three years. Violators will also be fined P50,000.


LTO personnel who allowed the registration of vehicles despite knowing the falsity of the affidavit or without the required document shall be suspended for three months without pay. (Monica Cantilero)