Sarmiento: Local Planning Officers should help find traffic solutions in MM

September 21, 2015

Incoming Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento said the city planning officers of local government units (LGUs) in the metropolis should work together to help find solutions to the worsening traffic in Metro Manila.

In a live studio interview with ANC anchor Karen Davila of Hot Copy, Sarmiento said LGUs should have a strategic plan which includes traffic.

"Maganda yung nag uusap-usap na sila ngayon sa Metro Manila Council sa MMDA, kung saan ang mga bottlenecks, saan ang mga problem areas at kung ano ang gagawin. Pero I think dapat ay long term (solutions)," he said.

"May pangangailangan na ang city planning officers nila (LGUs) ay umupo at magtulung-tulong upang makamit ang mas matagalang solusyon sa trapik," he stressed.

When asked by Davila if he agrees that mayors should ban cars parked on the road in their area like Mandaluyong, San Juan and other areas in Metro Manila, Sarmiento explained the need for the LGUs in the metropolis to help each other ease traffic.

"Kailangan na kailangan na magtulungan talaga diyan. Ako ay naniniwala na in city development, we need density area, but it has to be a well-planned and well-managed density area. Second, we should be able to address distance. From x point to x point, is it faster or cheaper? Kailangan yun," he said.

"Third is we should envision planning. Kailangan talaga lahat ng city planning officer sa isang metropolis, nag-uusap. Yung drainage line alone, tugma ba kaya ang drainage line ng city na ito sa kabilang city? O baka nagtapunan lang sila ng tubig, that's one problem. Same is true for traffic," he added.

When Davila cited Singapore’s successful 50-year urban planning which is being followed up to this time, Sarmiento said that each LGU should have a strategic plan that should also be in line with the national plan of the government. "Long-term planning is critical to achieve our goals," he said.

Sarmiento said the Internal Revenue Allotment of LGUs will be doubled by 2018, and mayors should now plan ahead on what to do with that enormous amount.

He said that each LGU should have a strategic plan anchored on participatory governance where people have a say on what the LGU wants to achieve in the next 6 years or more.

"Even if the mayor is replaced, the plan will stand because it is not the mayor's plan, but the people's plan," he said.

Sarmiento underscored the importance of participatory governance, a paradigm that was started by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, which he himself embraced as former city mayor of Calbayog City.

Sarmiento said that when he was the Secretary General of League of Cities of the Philippines, multilaterals would invite him to speak abroad about local governance, urban planning, and the like and now that he was appointed in the DILG, he said it is now an opportunity for him to help his fellow mayors.

Sarmiento, during his term as Calbayog mayor, received several awards including Galing Pook Award, Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence and Competitive City award, among others.