Water firms urged to avoid Christmas season road works

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 14 2019 09:35 AM

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Monday it would urge water utilities to refrain from digging up roads ahead of the Christmas rush to help ease traffic jams.

Manila Water and Maynilad said last week that traffic congestion would worsen in Metro Manila if they are compelled to complete sewer projects, in compliance with a Supreme Court order. 

"Kakausapin na po ni [MMDA] GM (General Manager) Jojo Garcia iyong mga utility companies before the end of this month para pagdating ng Kapaskuhan e iyong mga isinasagawa nilang digging, kung pupuwede po magkaroon tayo ng moratorium, lalong-lalo na kung di naman emergency in nature," said MMDA's EDSA traffic chief Bong Nebrija. 

(GM Jojo Garcia will talk to utility companies before the end of this month so that before Christmas, perhaps there could be a moratoriuim on their digging, especially if it's not an emergency.) 

The Supreme Court had ordered the water utility companies to finish connecting sewer lines and put up sewage treatment plants in Metro Manila within 5 years. The High Court also fined the concessionaires P921.5 million each for violating an environmental law. 

The ruling came as Metro Manila grappled with traffic gridlocks, disruptions in rail lines, and long passenger lines. 

Claims that a transport crisis exists in Metro Manila are "exaggerated," Nebrija was quoted as saying over the weekend. 

"We are not that level to alarm the people na nasa crisis level na tayo sa transportation," he said. 

"Ang problema po natin ay volume ng sasakyan. Ilang beses na po nating ipinarating ito sa ating mga mamamayan, sa ating mga lawmakers na unang-una may kakulangan tayo, there's a great mismatch between roads and number of vehicles," he added. 

(Our problem is the volume of cars. We have told our citizens and lawmakers several times that we have an insufficiency, there's a great mismatch between roads and number of vehicles.) 
 
The government's "very aggressive" response to the problem, includes the extension of railways, the modernization of public jeepneys and the construction of bridges along Pasig River, said Nebrija. 

DZMM, October 14, 2019