In the neck of time
Seemingly missing in the ambitious much publicized P8-trillion infrastructure plan of the DOTr was the element of time.
That in effect was the main beef of legislators who refused to confirm the appointment of Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade.
Where was the sense of urgency in the DOTr plan—that skeleton of a plan?
Result: They refused to give the “emergency powers” to motorbiking Duterte Harley.
To think that the DOTr insisted that it would need the powers to solve the incapacitating, excruciating, devastating traffic in Metro Manila.
It did not have the time frame, of course! It just had the fantastic sum of P8 trillion. That was it.
Defeated presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe called it a “grandiose” plan, as she showed impatience over this public pain in the neck called traffic.
For what could be the highest critereon of the business sector on the transportation program of Duterte Harley if not the time element?
Please, just build anything right away because we really needed everything since Lapu-Lapu was just a boy. Something like that!
For instance, would the DOTr consider the “time element” for building the new international airport to replace the world’s worst airport called Naia?
Two competing proposals for the airport hogged the headlines recently, one coming from the San Miguel group and the other from the Solar Entertainment group.
The biggest question would be, which one could be built faster. Yes, the time element!
One report in the New York-based Wall Street Journal noted that the San Miguel project “could be done faster than the rival proposal.”
It came complete with the design, drawn up by the US engineering and design firm Aecom, already submitted by San Miguel as an unsolicited proposal.
San Miguel vice chair Ramon Ang, according to the report, said San Miguel could open the airport within five years from the day of the government approval.
The proposal from the Solar Entertainment group, which recently announced the SM group as an investor, was inspired by the germ of an idea from Jica, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, during the Aquino (Part II) administration.
It would be located near the former US military base in Sangley Point in Cavite, which was the district of former DOTC boss Joseph Emilio Abaya.
From what I gathered, the DOTr has yet to see a blueprint for the Sangley Point project, much less a full feasibility study.
On another pesky transportation issue, one involving the rickety MRT-3 on Edsa, the DOTr also seemed to be lost, having not a single measure in place to put it in order.
Recently, we received a barrage of text messages about the good news from the DOTr on the signing of an agreement for the controversial “common station.”
That would be the station at North Avenue in Quezon City that would serve three light rail lines, namely, the MRT-3, LRT-1 and the forthcoming LRT-7.
About seven years ago during the cute administration of Gloriaetta, the government signed an agreement with the SM group to build the common station.
During the Aquino (Part II) administration, the then DOTC messed it all up by disregarding the agreement and giving the right to the Ayala group.
Of course, court cases flew left and right as a result.
Enter the DOTr under Duterte harley. As it turned out, the “signing” was a mere PR stunt, with the DOTr only wanting to show the public some “accomplishment.”
The media blitz on the so-called signing only served to highlight the fact that, on the issue of the common station, the DOTr did not do s**t!
What they signed was the term sheet—not an actual agreement—which basically said that all the parties agreed to enter into an agreement sometime in the future to have a common station.
OK, I heard that the parties already had a “draft” agreement, but the DOTr remained secretive on the design of the common station.
Would it for instance put the convenience of the public above all else?
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.