By Noreen Jazul
The fastest way to solve the traffic problem in the country is by encouraging the public to take the mass transportation system, Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, House Committee on Transportation chairman, said Friday.
“If you have a mass transportation system, you will encourage the public to ride, of course the mass transport system, rather than, the option right now is, on the mindset of a Filipino the only way for you to move is to have a car and that is totally wrong,” Sarmiento said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
But the only way to encourage the public to take the mass transportation system is by making it efficient, the Samar lawmaker said.
“The only way for us to have that efficiency, is first we have to come up with a good system,” he said.
Sarmiento revealed that he and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade already came up with a “doable” and “very good concept” to encourage Filipinos to take the mass public transpiration system.
“We just have to provide the people with the efficiency of the mass public transportation system. Once they realized that there is efficiency, now we can… encourage private vehicle owners to take the public service, rather than bringing your own car,” Sarmiento said.
The solon added that mass transportation system must be introduced to the public so that construction activities in various parts of Metro Manila can “take off.”
“It’s like this, how can you introduce the different infrastructures we have in EDSA, and other major thoroughfares if we will not bring down the volume of traffic that we have right now,” he asked.
The House Committee on Transportation chair, meanwhile, said Congress will only grant emergency powers to the President if other traffic solutions can longer move forward.
Sarmiento, however, said the grant of emergency powers to the President must undergo strict deliberation in both Houses of the Congress.
“There should be specifics where emergency power should be utilized. There should be a specific menu, and that menu should have… the things to do with the executives. Once you say emergency powers [that includes] infrastructure, consolidation of the different franchises, opening up subdivisions, these are part of the emergency power, but it has to be well studied,” he said.
Asked during the CNN interview if solons are for the grant of emergency powers to the President, Sarmiento said: “Amongst the lawmakers, gusto na rin talaga (they also want it).”
“Kaya lang (But) it has to go through the process. Ide-debate pa ito (It has to go through the debate),” he said.