House concludes debates on MMDA 2018 budget

The House of Representatives concluded its plenary deliberation on the proposed budget of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for next year amounting to P7.19 billion.
Rep. Jose Atienza (Party-list, BUHAY) complained about the perennial heavy traffic and flooding which the MMDA has not been able to address.
He cited the flooding on Tuesday at the Cubao underpass at the height of Tropical Depression Maring’s onslaught, which resulted in heavy traffic along EDSA and the adjoining areas.
“Hindi po dapat nangyayari yan kung sila ay nagtatrabaho. Daily we have to go through the gauntlet of a serious traffic situation in Metro Manila,” Atienza decried.
“Ano pong mga pagbabago ang nagawa ng MMDA para masabi natin na development-oriented sila,” Atienza asked.
Rep. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations and sponsor of the MMDA budget, said the agency “recognizes that flooding is a very big problem in urban management.”
On the flooding at the Cubao underpass, Vargas explained that the pumping station in the area broke down because of garbage, thus it could not continue to pump the floodwater.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez (3rd District, Quezon) said that since the construction of a subway system in Metro Manila is still in the drawing board, the MMDA should implement a three-digit coding scheme along the major thoroughfares in the National Capital Region (NCR).
He explained that the said arrangement will reduce by 30 percent the number of vehicles, which would ease traffic and improve travel time.
“Kung hindi ho natin babawasan ang sasakyan sa kalsada, it would be a nightmare and EDSA would be a huge parking space,” Suarez said.
Vargas replied that the MMDA is very much open to the suggestion of the Minority Leader as it will decrease the volume of vehicles, which is one of the solutions to the traffic problem.
“At the next meeting of the Metro Manila Council, composed of Metro Manila mayors, they will take up the matter in their agenda,” Vargas said.
“Cleansing the system will be a herculean task,” Suarez acknowledged. “Hindi po naman overnight ay magagawa ni General Lim na yung mga scalawags at yung mga kotong cops ay mawawala agad,” he said.
On the issue of garbage, Suarez suggested that the Metro Manila mayors be stricter in collecting garbage and in maintaining cleanliness and orderliness in Metro Manila.
Vargas pointed out that the collection and transport of garbage falls under the jurisdiction of the local government units (LGUs).
The House of Representatives decided to terminate the debate on the budget of the MMDA when no more members manifested to interpellate.
Deputy Speaker Mylene Garcia-Albano (2nd District, Davao City) presided at the plenary debate on the budget of MMDA.

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