By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The chiefs of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were urged on Tuesday to appear before the Senate’s inquiry on the proposed provincial bus ban on EDSA.
Senator Grace Poe expressed dismay over the absence of MMDA chairman Danilo Lim in the Committee on Public Services’ first hearing on his agency planned scheme prohibiting provincial buses along EDSA.
MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia told the panel that Lim attended a signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) which supposedly cannot be rescheduled. He, however, failed to specify the details of the event.
Lim earlier committed to attend the Senate inquiry, Poe said.
The senator said a MOA signing should just be “ceremonial” and Lim should have at least tried to go to the committee hearing.
“Ito nga ‘yong nakakalungkot — hindi — ito nga ‘yung nakakatawa hindi nga nila alam ang kung ano yung MOA na pinirmahan, sana kung gumawa sila ng dahilan, inayos na nila kung ano ‘yung sasabihin na nila,” Poe told reporters.
“Hindi ko naman iniinsulto maski na sino, so siguro si Chairman Lim ay frustrated na rin, naiintindihan ko hindi madali ang trabaho na ‘yan. Pero magpakita ka at magpakatotoo ka sa ating mga kababayan, sabihin mo na ‘Nahihirapan na ako, hindi nakikinig eh.’ Hindi ganito,” she added.
Also skipping the hearing was DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who was represented by Undersecretary Mark de Leon.
Poe said the DOTr, and not the MMDA, should be leading the implementation of policies for EDSA.
She said that while she was contented with the explanations of the officials in the hearing, Tugade and Lim’s presence would assure accountability by the government over their proposed policies.
“‘Pag wala dito ‘yung mismong namumuno, pwede nilang sabihin, ni Secretary Tugade, pwedeng sabihin ni Chairman Danny Lim, ‘Hindi ko naman ‘yan ino-authorize.’ So we need to hear from the top, kung ano ba talaga ang commitment nila,” Poe said.
The public services committee chair said she would not issue a subpoena to summon the two officials to the next hearing.
“Chairman Lim at Secretary Tugade inaanyayahan po namin kayo na dumalo sa aming pagdinig, sa magandang paraan po namin hinihiling ‘yan sapagkat marami sa ating kababayan ang nais marinig kayo, kung anong plano ninyo, ayaw naman naming daanin sa subpoena pa ang pag-iimbita sapagkat alam naman namin na siguro ay may malasakit kayo sa inyong mga kababayan,” Poe said.