• Modernize Subic port to ease Metro traffic, Rody urged

    Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, for his part, urged the Department of Transportation (DOT) not to leave out practical solutions to traffic such as the provision for road safety items like ambulances and tow trucks in its proposed grant of emergency powers to President Duterte. The DOT submitted a list of programs and projects amounting to PI. 15 trillion to the Senate to justify its request for the President to have emergency powers to solve the country's traffic problems. Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano II said a study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency showed that Subic, given its strategic assets, was equipped to acquire a higher share of the country's growing container cargo volume and ease traffic in the metropolis caused partly by trucks moving cargo out of the Port of Manila. He said goods and commodities intended for Central and Northern Luzon should no longer pass through Metro Manila if Subic's operations were optimized. "It is indeed a great idea. It is about time vte discuss the Subic port modernization project. Subic's location will also ensure a shorter point of entry for cargoes arriving from or going to Singapore," he said. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone supported the proposal. "It will also spur economic growth across Central and North Luzon," he said. Evardone noted the government built the SubicTarlac Expressway and improved the North Luzon Expressway partly to encourage importers to use the Subic port. "The government should encourage it. It can even offer incentives for those who will use the Subic port," he added. Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu proposed that traffic management and control of national roads in the provinces be given to governors. "Despite government effort to provide safe,, convenient and faster travel to the motoring public, still the national roads in highly populated cities, municipalities and provinces are confronted with serious traffic problems brought about by the increasing volume of vehicles, aggravated by various obstructions caused by the reckless and unauthorized parking of vehicles along the sides of the national roads," ne said. Abu said under the Local Government Code, provinces were the appropriate local government units that could effectively implement regulations for the efficient traffic management and control over the seriously congested national roads. Abu has filed Resolution 119, which calls for empowering provinces, through their legislative assemblies and governors, to manage traffic in their areas. Meanwhile, Recto emphasized the need to purchase ambulances and tow trucks as part of the solution to the traffic crisis because this would allow emergency teams to rush to accident sites to help victims and clear traffic jamcausing road obstructions. Unlike "longgestating" subways and airports that will take years to complete, Recto said the acquisition of readytoroll ambulances for emergency medical teams, or EMTs, and tow trucks for road clearing operations could be done in a matter of months. When it comes to traffic management, road safety, especially for pedestrians, plays a key role alongside infrastructure, Recto said. Recto said the hundreds of tow trucks and mobile EMTs were needed to constantly go around the roads of Metro Manila in order to ensure that there were no unnecessary obstructions to the flow of traffic, including illegally parked cars. He said the rising human toll from accidents was also a compelling reason to have these. Citing data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Recto noted that a total of 95,615 traffic accidents were reported last year. "That's an alarming 262 incidents a day, or one every five and a half minutes," Recto said. According to the MMDA, these accidents resulted in the deaths of 519 persons, injury of 17,103 and 77,993 cases of damage to property. Recto said nonurgent projects in the DOT list, like the construction of training rooms in one DOT agency and the purchase of nonessential computers, could be put on the back burner and replaced by ambulances and tow trucks.