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If not now . . .

WHAT if those emergency powers to solve the transportation and traffic crisis don’t happen?

Should the Department of Transportation stop using “emergency” and find another word, something bland, maybe? A crisis is bad enough without another crisis, an emergency, to solve it. The solutions are projected to cost P7 trillion, which is another reason senators and congressmen are not keen about assisting in the delivery of such a costly mammoth to another branch of government.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade’s answer: “Without emergency powers, the question is, how fast can we do it?”

In his 64-page report to the Senate, each project title comes with two timelines, “with special power” and “without special power.” In most of the “without” cases, delays would be due to injunctions, TROs, “prominent” personalities and their objections, and the protests of environmentalists, labor unions, informal settlers.

In a two-hour conversation with journalists last week, Mr. Tugade averred that no one project is top priority because only a “basket” of solutions taken altogether will do, helped along by “political will that arms you with authority.”

If all goes as planned, he foresees a “golden era” for his President as well as his constituents, all 102 million of them. Before that blessed day comes, the simple matter of 6M driver licenses and 5M license plates continues to be stuck in the legalistic glue of losing bids and Commission on Audit disallowance; in addition, Asian Productivity Office refused to print the licenses.

There are other goodies in the Tugade basket. Tutuban-Clark-Subic by train. Airport in Bulacan with six runways serving 100M passengers yearly. “NAIA will be good for another 7 to 8 years” before its importance fades out. More ports for intermodality, Ro-Ro, barging operations. More point-to-point buses on EDSA, they cost their operators P10M each!

Christmas is in the air, but not to the holders of 187,000 traffic violation tickets issued in 98 days. As for “after Christmas,” the Secretary’s wish is “no more loading/unloading in front of malls, schools, churches!”
(Jullie Y. Daza)