AUTHORITIES should ban all private vehicles on the main EDSA highway during rush hours to ease traffic in the capital, a congressman said yesterday.
This would make room for buses and other public utility vehicles that ordinary citizens can use, Caloocan Rep. Edgar R. Erice told reporters.
“We need to prioritize the welfare of ordinary workers, the poor and the lower middle class who don’t have cars,” he said in Filipino.
About 300,00 private vehicles pass through EDSA daily, compared with 8,000 buses, Mr. Erice said. Banning private cars would cut the travel time of ordinary commuters, he added.
He said private car owners may use side streets as alternate routes if his proposal is enforced.
The congressman said the plan is just temporary and may end once major road projects are completed including the North Luzon and South Luzon expressway connector road, the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit 3 and the Metro Subway.
Jose Arturo S. Garcia Jr., general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said Mr. Erice’s suggestion makes sense.
The Metro Manila Council will meet next month to study all proposals to ease traffic on EDSA and other main roads, he told reporters yesterday.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has renewed his call for presidential emergency powers to solve the traffic gridlock on EDSA. During a House of Representatives hearing on his agency’s budget, Mr. Tugade said it was possible to solve the traffic problem but it would take longer without giving special powers to the president.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier said he would not beg for emergency powers from Congress to solve the traffic problem.
Mr. Duterte said he asked his officials not to pursue it anymore after a lady senator had said they couldn’t be trusted with more powers.
Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who heads the public service committee, earlier said the body was not inclined to grant the Transportation department’s renewed plea for emergency powers to solve traffic congestion in the capital.
The senator, who opposed a similar proposal in the past Congress, said Mr. Duterte could ease traffic in Metro Manila without emergency powers from Congress.
Several bills were filed in the previous Congress seeking emergency powers for Mr. Duterte to ease traffic congestion. The measures sought to give the Transportation chief “full power” to manage traffic on EDSA and control road use.
The House approved the bill but the Senate version did not progress. The bills have been re-filed in both Houses. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras