June 27, 2017, 10:12 pm
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Elected Metro Manila government backed

METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority acting chairman Thomas Orbos yesterday said the proposal of Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza to replace the agency with the Metropolitan Manila Government has opened the need to review the strengths and the mandates of the agency.

“I think it is very timely to talk about it. There is really a need to review the strength of the MMDA, even the authority, whether it is elected or not. I think we should focus on what the MMDA has,” he said.

Atienza has filed House Bill 4758 (“An Act Creating The Metropolitan Manila Government”) to replace what he called an “ineffective” MMDA, which is headed by a chairman appointed by the President and serves as a coordinating body with the elected mayors of the 16 cities and one municipality.

Under Atienza’s bill, the Metro Manila government will be led by a governor who will be elected by the people. It shall be composed of a governor, vice-governor, and the Metro Manila Council (MMC).  

Atienza said there should be a permanent body to focus on Metro Manila concerns, especially the debilitating problem of traffic congestion, flooding, and garbage.

He also said the MMDA’s present structure of having an appointed chair is failing for lack of accountability.

Orbos said he agrees with Atienza that it is difficult for an MMDA chairman to deal with the Metro Manila mayors since the former is merely appointed by the President while the latter are elected by the people. 

“Let us look further to the kind of leadership that we should have here,” he said.

Orbos said the MMDA only acts as a coordinating body, adding the agency does not have the power to create ordinances that will address the problems of the metropolis. 

He said the proposal should be discussed along with federalism.

Under the federal set-up, sovereignty is shared between a central governing authority and federal states. 

“Metro Manila should be taken as a separate region. Therefore, an elected authority must be there,” he said.

He also said a federal government will give the agency a power over routes, public utility vehicle franchises, and penalties for traffic violations.

The Metro Manila Council earlier expressed support to Duterte’s federalism campaign.

It said the shift to a federal form of government would address the country’s peace and order situation; boost economic activities, business, and trade relations; open employment opportunities; enhance the country’s health care; and improve disaster preparedness.

The MMC also said the move would solve problems in Metro Manila like lack of shelter, massive influx of informal settlers, traffic congestion, peace and order, and the competition among traders and manufactured.
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