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Senator Gatchalian urges DOTr to impose discipline on Metro Manila motorists

A typical rush hour bottleneck traffic chokes Metro Manila with slow moving vehicles and a commute that lasts as long as four to five hours. Senator Gatchalian said quick, unified and effective inter-government interventions are needed to tame the “traffic beast.” (Photo by Mark Cayabyab)

As the Department of Transportation prepares to assume control of traffic management in Metro Manila, Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the department to use its consolidated powers to impose discipline on motorists in the nation’s capital by strictly enforcing traffic laws and clearing the streets of illegally parked vehicles.

Gatchalian, who remains open to the possibility of granting emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte in order to solve Metro Manila’s transportation crisis, said that quick and effective interventions by the DOTr under the unified traffic command system would be decisive in convincing lawmakers from both houses of Congress to grant the requested emergency powers.

“We can look at this new traffic regime as a dry run for emergency powers. If DOTr and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic can prove their competence by producing fast results in combating the traffic nightmare, I think the legislature will respond by giving them what they are asking for. If DOTr delivers now, I’ll be the first to sign the emergency powers,” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian expects that DOTr will crack down on disobedient motorists with an iron fist, especially those who cause traffic by illegally parking their vehicles along major and minor thoroughfares through the Metro.

Gatchalian also called on DOTr to implement a coordinated PUV station system while clearing the roads of illegal PUV terminals which create unnecessary traffic choke points along main roads.

“Bringing discipline back to our roads will require sacrifice and conformity from all motorists. This means that we have to punish all offenders equally, regardless of whether their vehicle is a passenger jeep or a Mercedes-Benz,” said Gatchalian.

A former three-term mayor of Valenzuela City, Gatchalian also urged DOTr to coordinate closely with the various mayors of NCR cities in order to utilize the resources and manpower of the LGUs to better enforce their plans.

“I also hope that NCR mayors will swallow their pride for a while by strictly following the directives of the DOTr and IACT. LGU cooperation will be vital to finally taming the traffic beast,” Gatchalian said.