By William Casis i FilAm Star Correspondent
If President Rodrigo Duterte delivers on his two most recent promises— cut travel time from Makati to Cubao to only five minutes and eliminate flight delays at Manila’s international airport — he would be “superhuman” and deserve to be president for life, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Monday.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, on the other hand, said he had no idea how the President would make good on his promise.
Duterte, during a TV interview in Davao City on June 7, promised to ease traffic between Cubao and Makati.
His spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said he would ask the President to elaborate on his pronouncement during the Cabinet meeting Monday night.
Asked if Duterte’s confidence was tied to an emergency powers bill that the next Congress might pass now that his allies have grown in the Senate, Panelo said he would ask him that, too.
Panelo, however, expressed hope that the 18th Congress will consider Duterte’s request for emergency powers to ease Metro Manila’s traffic woes.
On Friday, Duterte said traffic from Cubao to Makati will improve before the end of the year.
“You just wait. I don’t want to pre-empt but things will improve maybe God willing, by December it will be smooth sailing. You don’t have to worry about traffic. Cubao (to) Makati is just about five minutes away,” Duterte said.
Duterte has been requesting Congress to grant him emergency powers to solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes. However, the Senate has been hesitant to pass the measure amid corruption concerns.
Former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs and Senator-elect Francis Tolentino earlier said he is going to push for the passage of emergency powers in the Senate to solve Metro Manila traffic woes.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has created an inter-agency task force to implement measures to ease traffic from Cubao, Quezon City to Makati City.
MMDA EDSA Traffic Chief Edison Nebrija said Task Force Cubao-Makati was created to tackle the President’s promise to cut travel time between Makati and Cubao to only five minutes before the end of the year.
“All the pronouncements of the President became a directive and mandate not only to MMDA but to all government agencies,” Nebrija said in a radio interview on Monday.
“We recently created Task Force CubMa ahead of the President’s pronouncement,” he added.
The Department of Public Works and Highways will introduce “engineering interventions” to improve traffic wherein weekend road repairs on EDSA will be sped up.
The MMDA official said various stakeholders such as the government, motorists, and passengers must work together to ease the traffic situation in Metro Manila.