By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter
SENATOR Sherwin T. Gatchalian wants Malacañang to declare the Proof of Parking bill as a priority measure in the 18th Congress to address traffic congestion in EDSA.
In a statement, Mr. Gatchalian cited President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s recent admission that he has failed to address traffic in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare, which was among his campaign promises.
“While Congress may not have granted the President’s request, there have been a number of bills filed in both Houses with the aim of decongesting our streets. One of these is the Proof of Parking Bill that aims to ease traffic by requiring those who want to purchase cars to have an appropriate parking space before being allowed to buy,” he said on Tuesday.
“We will continue pushing for this bill until this has become a law. I therefore humbly urge the President to declare this one off his priority measures for the 18th Congress to hasten its passage,” he added.
Senate Bill No. 201 or the proposed Proof-of-Parking Space Act, which Mr. Gatchalian filed, requires individuals and businesses to execute an affidavit confirming that they have acquired a parking space before being allowed to purchase vehicles.
The bill also mandates the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and local government units to conduct ocular inspections of major and minor thoroughfares of Metro Manila in order to remove illegally parked vehicles and to catch erring car owners.
Both versions of the bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives remain pending in the committee level.
In a speech on Saturday, Mr. Duterte said he has fulfilled all of his campaign promises, except for the traffic woes in EDSA. He said Congress refused to grant him emergency powers in Congress, which he said cited graft and corruption concerns with the proposal.
“I did not make promises I did not keep except EDSA…. What did I hear from Congress? They were not in favor of it. ‘It cannot be done, you know, graft and corruption will be committed.’ When I heard that, I said, ‘No, it’s off. Take it away from the table. I do not want it,” he said.
The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the bill on Dec. 5 last year. House Bill No. 6425 or the proposed Traffic Crisis Act grants traffic emergency powers to the President and designates the Transportation Secretary as the traffic czar. Its counterpart measure, Senate Bill No. 1284 or the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, is still pending for second reading approval.
During the one-on-one conversation last Sept. 12 with presidential spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo, Mr. Duterte said he no longer wanted the emergency powers because Congress refused to give it to him.
“Let’s just leave EDSA as it is. If you don’t trust me, then don’t. Congress won’t give me emergency powers for traffic. I also don’t want it anymore,” he said.
Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, chair of the Senate committee on public services, earlier said senators wanted the government to provide specific projects, which the Department of Transportation has yet to submit, wherein emergency powers would be enforced. She also noted that Mr. Duterte did not want the traffic emergency powers proposal when she sought for his position.
“Initially the President said he wanted that, but I had a talk with him, personal. ‘Mr. President, do you need this, you think it will help solve traffic?’ He said, ‘I don’t really care, we can do that without even the emergency powers.’ He said that and I think it’s clear because otherwise his allies would have approved it in the Senate,” she said in a Dec. 3, 2018, television interview.
“What I’m saying is please be specific, and DOTr has not submitted. So, I’m taking my cue from the President,” she added.