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Big changes in store at PH transport agency

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Photo from dotcmrt3.gov.ph

There will be massive changes at the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) during the first 100 days of new Transportation Secretary Atty Arthur Tugade.

During that period, Tugade said he will up capacity of Metro Rail Transit Line 3; cut by 50% processing times at all attached agencies as well as clear them of fixers; and settle a dispute between property developers over a railway common station’s location that would link MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 in Quezon City.

In his first press conference last Friday, Tugade, former head of Clark Development Corp. under former President Benigno Aquino III, said the agency will also lengthen 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 North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway system tollroad payment platforms.

By next week, a 24-hour “interactive complaint desk” will be instituted, he added, while certain renewal processes would be “technology” based to minimize “person-to-person interaction,” eventually doing away with queues at attached agencies.

Tugade said his top priority though, as instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte, is to address the traffic problems of Metro Manila. He noted, however, that the problems, which are “a product of decades of negligence and shortcomings,” will not be resolved in just 100 days.

Duterte is seeking from Congress emergency powers valid for two years to lick the traffic crisis.

Tugade said lawmakers were already coming forward with bills, which will allow, among others, a unified traffic scheme among local government units and the takeover of properties subject to certain procedures. The bills will outline bidding procedures and the protection from any temporary restraining order, except those coming from the Supreme Court.

Tugade also plans to push the use of Clark airport, and revisit public-private partnership rules.

He likewise instructed DOTC officials not to accept gifts and free meals when invited out on official capacity.

New officials

Meantime, the new transport chief also overhauled offices into four sectors– maritime, air, railways and tollways, and land and traffic–to ensure lines of responsibility are clear. Each of the sectors will be headed by an undersecretary.

Heading the maritime sector is Felife Judan, former chief operating officer of Southwest Maritime Group of Companies, while the air transport sector will be led by Roberto Lim, who was previously International Air Transport Association country manager.

In charge of railways and tollways is Noel Kintanar, an ex-Ayala Corporation executive, and at the helm of the land transportation and traffic sector is former transport undersecretary Anneli Lontoc.

Garry V. De Guzman, formerly with Megaworld Corporation, is head of DOTC finance and Tugade’s chief of staff.

Raoul Creencia, former head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, is the department’s new undersecretary for legal and procurement, while Rommel Gavieta, ex managing director of All Asia Resources and Reclamation Corporation, is undersecretary for planning.

New Land Transportation Office chief Edgar Galvante and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Martin Delgra were also sworn into office on July 1.

Metro Rail Transit 3 general manager Ramon Buenafe, Light Rail Transit Authority administrator Honorito Chaneco, and Philippine National Railways general manager Engineer Joseph Allan Dilay were retained to ensure continuity of projects.

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