New DOTC head promises sweeping changes
There will be no honeymoon phase, at least for employees and managers in the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) under the Duterte administration.
The massive agency is poised to launch sweeping changes in its first 100 days in a bid to improve public services and restore a reputation perceived to have grown more tarnished in the last six years with worsening traffic and a steadily deteriorating mass transit system in Metro Manila.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who established a successful logistics business before being tapped to the head the state-run Clark Development Corp. under President Aquino, said on his first press conference Friday as head of the department that he was ready to implement difficult reforms in the months and years ahead.
The plan for the first 100 days: Increase capacity at the congested Metro Rail Transit Line 3, slash processing times at all attached agencies by at least 50 percent and settle a row between big property developers over a railway common station’s location that would link MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 in Quezon City.
Within that period, the department will also move to extend the driver’s license validity to five years from the current three, provide Wi-Fi internet connection to “all” seaports and airports in the country and integrate payment platforms for tollroads such as North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway system.
By next week, a 24-hour “interactive complaint desk” will be put in place, he added, while certain renewal processes would be “technology” based to minimize “person-to-person interaction” and eventually erase queues at its attached agencies.
At the heart of Metro Manila’s traffic solution, and those in other urban areas, was for the Duterte administration to be granted “special powers” for two years.
Tugade said lawmakers were already coming forward with bills, which will allow, among other things, a unified traffic scheme among local government units and the takeover of properties subject to certain procedures and negotiations “for the common good”. The bills will also outline bidding procedures and the protection from any temporary restraining order, except those coming from the Supreme Court.
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