PHILIPPINE Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Friday, August 16, said that employing more traffic management personnel is a top priority to alleviate the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.

According to him, “Round-the-clock and rain-or-shine” supervision of Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic personnel over major roads and critical intersections in the capital region is now needed due to the surge in the number of vehicles, Recto said.

He pointed out that some 11,530 vehicles were being registered monthly in Metro Manila alone, stressing that the “MMDA needs an active night brigade.”

Recto also noted that the increasing number of vehicular accidents, which in 2017 rose to 110,025 reported cases, is another reason why more MMDA traffic personnel should be hired.

The senator further said that the MMDA “must be allowed to tap a portion of the 168 million it collects in traffic and littering fines annually—specifically for the hiring of more personnel” if government rules prohibit the agency from using its internally generated income.

However, Recto stressed that the best solution to the lack of traffic personnel is to increase the funds the MMDA receives from the national government through the General Appropriations Act.

Last year, the MMDA was given a budget of P3.688 billion as well as P3.636 billion in mandatory contributions from its member towns and cities.

Recto said that after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged MMDA’s failure to “obligate” P1.2 billion of its 2018 appropriations, the coming Senate hearing of its 2020 budget “would be a good time to discuss how its budget can be used efficiently, including funding new personnel items.”

The senator’s call was issued following a hearing held by the Senate committee on public services about the planned ban on provincial buses and the worsening traffic situation along EDSA, Metro Manila’s main road.

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