The lower chamber approved through voice voting House Bill No. 6425, or the proposed “Traffic Crisis Act”, during its second reading on Tuesday night, November 27. The bill seeks address the growing issues of land traffic congestion plaguing major settlements like Metropolitan Manila, Metropolitan Cebu, and Metropolitan Davao by prescribing an “urgent, comprehensive and integrated land-based traffic management”.
The bill would designate the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as the de officio Traffic Chief. This would allow the DOTr chief the powers to control and supervise over other land transportation agencies, including the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). Proposed similar agencies such as the Cebu Traffic Coordinating Council and the Davao Administrator would also fall under the Traffic Chief’s jurisdiction.
The Traffic Chief would also be empowered by the bill to carry out priority projects and programs that would have immediate, significant, and measurable impact on alleviating the land traffic crisis. In addition, the office would also develop and issue a comprehensive traffic rule handbook and a traffic impact plan.
HB No. 6425 would also mandate the formulation of a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) specific to each of the identified crisis metropolitan areas. These TMPs must detail the concrete steps to be taken by authorities to solve the traffic issues. TMPs are to contain a minimum of 19 components, such as the organizational structure of covered agencies, route rationalization, establishment of friendship routes, promotion of sustainable transport, traffic flow and volume reduction schemes, clearing of sidewalks, establishment of elevated crosswalks, and designation of public utility vehicle terminals.