MANILA - A Senate leader said the "silver bullet" to solve the traffic problem in the Metro Manila is to have the side streets cleared of illegally parked vehicles so that motorists may use the smaller roads instead of major thoroughfares.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said Metro Manila streets should be declared no-parking zones, just like in Singapore.
"The silver bullet to solve the traffic problem in Metro Manila, especially in EDSA is to declare Metro Manila city streets as a no-parking zone, just like Singapore," he said.
"Pag no-parking zone lahat yan, at sa parking slot ka lang nakaparada, hindi na dadaan ng EDSA," he added.
Sotto said whenever he would drive himself to and from work, he would use these side streets instead of EDSA, and would get to his destination an hour earlier.
"But it can be faster if those illegally parked cars are removed from the city streets," he said.
He noted, it is the "stupid" drivers who park their vehicles along public roads.
"Sinong gumagawa nun? E di yung mga driver din na tanga. They violate the law. Papano hindi dumaan sa scrutiny. Ang daling kumuha ng lisensya," he said.
STRICTER LICENSE APPLICATION, RENEWAL
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) told the senators it is time to be stricter when issuing professional driver's licenses. Based on the agency's current procedure, applicants only need to be a student driver for six months to be qualified.
He also noted that examinations for professional and non-professional drivers are similar.
"Isa po ito sa mga binabago natin para lalo nating matutukan na yung binibigyan ng lisensya ay sapat ang kwalipikasyon," he said.
The agency is looking to also examine professional drivers, specifically in relation to the vehicle they are hoping to drive.
"Napansin naman that even tricycle drivers are given professional licenses, but given the load restriction, hindi sila pwedeng mag-maneho ng mabibigat na sasakyan," he said.
Meanwhile, Sotto also put the agency to task for not being strict in the renewal of licenses. He said roads should be rid of drivers who are not only reckless, but also stupid.
“Dapat, yung pagre-renew ng lisensya higpitan ninyo. Pag-examine ninyo ulit. Grabe eh. Hindi lang mga reckless; ang tatanga. Kaya siguradong babagsak eh. Siguradong sa tunay na eksaminasyon, 50 percent ng mga driver sa Pilipinas babagsak ,” he said.
“It’s about time, if we want safety for our people," he added.
FIND PANDA TOUR BUS EVALUATORS
In the hearing, Sotto also urged the LTO to also be stricter when it examines vehicles and issues road-worthiness clearances.
This, after an accident in Tanay last month involving a Panda Coach tour bus carrying college students, where at least 15 people died and 30 others were injured.
Sotto pressed Galvante to find out who among his men evaluated the Panda bus and cleared it for road-worthiness.
"I suggest to find out who these persons are, what kind of evaluation they do. They are liable for what happened in this bus. Lahat sila, saka para matakot itong mga nag-eevaluate na ito na sige lang, sige lang. May inaabot lang na kaunti, wala na," he said.
"Asec. Egay, masyadong matindi ang problema dyan sa LTO saka sa LTFRB [Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board], I suggest you go to the root," he added.