Too many 'experiments': Poe seeks explanation on EDSA gridlock

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 03:51 PM

The MMDA called off a provincial bus ban dry run along EDSA after bus companies who initially volunteered to participate decided to ply the roads due to a court order halting the ban. Photo by Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Sen. Grace Poe has sought an explanation on the heavy traffic caused by the dry run of new traffic policies on EDSA.

"Matinding kalbaryo na naman ang nararanasan ng ating mga kababayang dumadaan sa EDSA. Maniningil tayo ng paliwanag at hindi natin palalagpasin ang kailangang managot sa kaguluhang ito," Poe said in a statement Thursday.

(Passengers passing through EDSA are suffering. We will demand an explanation and we will hold someone accountable for this.)

"Bakit ginagawa tayong parang science project, puro eksperimento, habang taumbayan naman ang nagdurusa?" she said.

(Why are we being treated like a science project? All they do is to experiment while the public suffers.)

Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, will meet with traffic management officials to tackle, in aid of legislation, the proposed provincial bus ban along EDSA.

A Quezon City court earlier issued a preliminary injunction against the bus ban on EDSA, but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) still pushed through with its dry run.

The MMDA also strictly implemented the yellow lane policy, but this supposedly worsened the traffic, leaving many passengers stranded.

Various groups have questioned the legality of the provincial bus ban before the Supreme Court, claiming the MMDA does not have the authority to ban provincial buses along EDSA as the agency does not have legislative nor police powers.

They rely on a 2007 Supreme Court ruling which invalidated former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s similar directive to close down bus terminals along EDSA in 2003.

The Philippine capital’s traffic congestion costs the country P3.5 billion daily, a 2017 data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency showed. This could rise to P5.4 billion by 2035 if no interventions are made.

The government is now rushing to build transportation systems to make commuting in the capital easier and free the roads of cars.