By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Transportation and the House Committee on Metro Manila Development will conduct next week a joint hearing on the government’s planned removal of all provincial bus terminals along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) by January next year.
In separate interviews, Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, and Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said their panels will urgently look into the “repercussions” of the government’s plan and how the concerned government agencies intend to relocate the affected bus terminals.
“We will conduct a hearing to inquire from the concerned agencies how they plan to execute the relocation of the EDSA bus terminals by January,” Sarmiento said in an interview.
He said they will conduct the hearing next week when Congress resumes session on Nov. 12.
“We need to rationalize public land transportation. An intrinsic part of rationalization is planning the location of the PUV terminals. There is indeed a need to rationalize the location of the uncoordinated existing PUV terminals on EDSA,” Sarmiento said.
“If the plan is to relocate all the existing terminals on EDSA by January, the government should immediately designate or provide real estate to ensure that all the affected buses can have a new home. More importantly, this new location should be connected to existing PUV routes and accessible to commuters,” the House leader stressed.
Sarmiento said he is counting on the concerned government agencies to flex their muscles to ensure that all issues concerning the planned removal of all bus terminals along EDSA will be ironed out and they meet the January deadline.
“Hopefully, the concerned government agencies have prepared for these concerns to meet their deadline,” he said.
For his part, Castelo cited the need to look to into the impact of the government’s plan to all concerned stakeholders, particularly the commuting public.
“We will be conducting public hearings on the matter. Some were issued Permit to Operate by the LGUs to manage a bus terminal in EDSA,” he said. “We have to study to legal repercussions on it and also the convenience of commuters,” he added.
AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano, and Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo earlier expressed full support to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s plan as directed by President Duterte.
In a television interview, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. said they have been directed by the President to close down all provincial bus terminals along EDSA.
Reports said the MMDA is eyeing to install integrated terminals along Valenzuela City and Santa Rosa, Laguna that would cater to buses from the northern and southern provinces near Metro Manila.
Currently, there are 46 bus terminals along EDSA, according to the MMDA.