AUGUST 13, 2019 – Senator Grace Poe hit the absence of the chairman of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in Tuesday morning’s Senate hearing about the stalled provincial bus ban along EDSA.
Poe, who chairs the Committee on Public Services, stressed the importance of MMDA chief Danilo Lim’s attendance to explain the policy which drew opposition from passengers and provincial bus operators.
“Siguro merong mabigat na dahilan, nais kong marinig bakit wala siya rito, hindi ba niya pinapahalagahan ang pagdinig na ito? O hindi niya pinapahalagahan ang mga pasaherong apektado dito?” Poe said.
Lim was absent in the committee hearing due to a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing he had to attend to, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia explained. He, however, could not immediately tell what the event was about.
“Ang MOA signing parang ceremonial na lang ‘yan, ano ba naman ‘yung pirmahan nila ng limang minuto at pumunta dito? Kasi siyempre iba naman ‘yung sasabihin mo dahil hindi ikaw namumuno. Mapapairal mo ba iyan nang walang approval galing sa kanya?” Poe responded.
She further insisted on Lim’s presence even if it would entail another meeting.
“Do you think that we will avoid the inevitable? We will have another hearing. If only to listen to his side,” Poe asked.
“Doon sa mga hindi naga-attend, huwag niyong iisipin na hindi matutuloy ang araw ninyo dito, sapagkat accountability po ‘yan, lahat dapat meron pagkakataong marinig yung panig, she warned.
The senator called the hearing to demand answers from transport officials regarding the worsening traffic condition in Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare.
This comes despite the dry run for the provincial bus ban and the strict implementation of the yellow lane policy, which allows buses to use only two outermost lanes. The MMDA insists these efforts can help alleviate traffic in the metro.
Lawmakers, however, questioned the ban as provincial buses comprise only five percent of the total number of vehicles passing through EDSA.
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 223 also issued a preliminary injunction against the yellow lane policy, for lack of basis and for its “far-reaching” effects. The MMDA said it will appeal the court’s decision. (By Karen Macalalad / AAD)