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Lawmakers Want MMDA to Manage Metro Bus Project After DOTr Shelving

Some members of the House are requesting that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to take control of the bus rapid transport (BRT) system project proposed for implementation in the Metro after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) decided to scrap it.

When the House committee on Metro Manila Development discussed the project during its June 6 morning meeting, DOTr Assistant Secretary Arturo Fabillar said that they are de-prioritizing the project and want to study its feasibility further. Fabillar failed to provide an exact reason behind the DOTr shelving, but cited that the results of an internal evaluation is the basis for the agency’s decision.

Fabillar received some rebuke from committee chair Rep. Winston Castelo after the revelation.

“You’re asking the public to suffer for the reason we don’t know,” said Castelo. “You have requested funding from Congress, only to reverse your decision after so many years.”

Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando was the one who offered the suggestion that the MMDA should take over the project.

“I move that we put to task the MMDA to improve on or continue with the organized bus route with the corresponding financial support they may need to perfect the system,” said Fernando, who is a former MMDA chairman himself.

Castelo supported the motion, and proceeded to ask Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary Maria Edita Tan if the funds allocated for the project can be transferred from the DOTr to the MMDA. Tan said that this was doable, but it will require a lot of paperwork along with obtaining a go-signal from the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).

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