The Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity

And jus­ti­fi­ably or not, MMDA gets the blame for ev­ery­thing which goes wrong in Metro Manila from traf­fic to floods, from ko­tong to pot­holes

Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION - IGNACIO R. BUNYE tot­ing­bunye2000@gmail.com

On his very first speech dur­ing the Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (MMDA) an­niver­sary, Chair­man Danilo Lim, who has been on the job only for the last five months, could not hide his amaze­ment at how com­plex the MMDA’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties have be­come. The MMDA evolved from the Metro Manila Au­thor­ity (MMA) which, in turn, orig­i­nated from the Metro Manila Com­mis­sion (MMC).

The MMDA per­forms plan­ning, mon­i­tor­ing and co­or­di­na­tive func­tions in­volv­ing Metro-wide ser­vices within Metro Manila. These ser­vices in­clude de­vel­op­ment plan­ning, trans­port and traf­fic man­age­ment, solid waste dis­posal and man­age­ment, flood con­trol and sew­er­age man­age­ment, ur­ban re­newal, health and pub­lic safety.

And yet re­sources al­lo­cated for MMDA have re­mained flat­tish through the years. Roads and thor­ough­fares have not been ex­panded. Man­power has stayed at around 10,000. Equip­ment have not caught up even with MMDA’s ba­sic re­quire­ments.

For in­stance, Lim cites the case of es­tero clean­ers who have to im­pro­vise, us­ing dis­carded elec­tric fan screens tied to the end of long poles, to scoop up the trash in Metro Manila’s es­teros and wa­ter­ways. Traf­fic en­forcers who are daily ex­posed to pol­lu­tion, sun and dust, do not even have re­flec­tor­ized vests. Some­thing has got to give.

And jus­ti­fi­ably or not, MMDA gets the blame for ev­ery­thing which goes wrong in Metro Manila from traf­fic to floods, from ko­tong to pot­holes. Even for op­er­a­tions out­side its man­date -- like the Metro Rail Tran­sit (MRT) and sky­way.

It would take a su­per-hero to fix Metro Manila, Lim said. But for some­one who is not about to shirk re­spon­si­bil­ity placed on his shoul­ders by his boss, Lim is de­ter­mined to keep work­ing and fight­ing, un­til the prover­bial cav­alry ar­rives.

For­mer MMDA chair Fran­cis To­lentino, who was also present dur­ing the 42nd MMDA an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, points to some shin­ing mo­ments of MMDA, es­pe­cially in emer­gency re­sponse. To­lentino proudly re­calls that MMDA’s emer­gency re­sponse team was among the very first to ar­rive in Yolanda- stricken Ta­cloban and in other ar­eas sim­i­larly af­flicted by nat­u­ral calami­ties.

As then Mayor of Muntinlupa, I had the priv­i­lege of serv­ing (in a con­cur­rent ca­pac­ity) as chair of the Metro Manila Au­thor­ity (MMA), MMDA’s im­me­di­ate fore-run­ner. At that time, the MMA chair was elected from among the 17 may­ors of Metro Manila for a term of six months. I served for three con­sec­u­tive terms from 1991 to 1992. My term was sand­wiched be­tween those of for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent /then Makati mayor Je­jo­mar Bi­nay and for­mer Que­zon City mayor Is­mael Mathay.

The top metro prob­lems then were garbage and traf­fic, in that or­der. Of course, the mag­ni­tude of the prob­lems did not even come close to that of to­day’s. Fo­cus at that time was the con­struc­tion of the San Ma­teo sanitary land fill, which had an es­ti­mated shelf life of seven years.

To­gether, with then Con­gress­man Sonny Bel­monte, we helped pre­pare the draft which even­tu­ally be­came RA 7924, or the Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity Law. Among its pro­vi­sions was for the ap­point­ment of a full­time chair­man.

Pros­pero Oreta be­came MMDA’s first chair­man. He was fol­lowed by: Je­jo­mar Bi­nay, Ben­jamin Aba­los, Bayani Fer­nando, Os­car Ino­centes, Fran­cis To­lentino, Emer­son Car­los (OIC), Thomas Or­bos (OIC) and Danilo Lim.--

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