By Aurea Calica Updated April 21, 2009 12:00 AM [ philstar.com ]
MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. scored yesterday Maynilad Water Services Inc.’s decision to push through with its 5.5 km. pipe-laying project along Aguinaldo Highway in Bacoor, Cavite even without alternate routes for motorists.
Revilla, chairman of the Senate committee on public works and highways as well as public services, said the dry run of Maynilad for alternate routes yesterday caused traffic congestion along Aguinaldo Highway, Cavite’s gateway to and from Manila.
The senator said the highway became highly congested with traffic building up over 10 kms. long and travel time delayed by over four hours. This caused frustration and anger among motorists who needed to travel to Manila for work and commerce.
Revilla said he held a dialogue last week with Maynilad president Rogelio Singson where they agreed to postpone the project implementation until the utility firm is able to conduct a successful traffic re-routing dry run.
Aside from commuters who failed to come to work and those who managed to come in late because of the unprecedented traffic build-up, businessmen and industry locators from the province also expressed their apprehension on the adverse effects the traffic situation might bring to the flow of their goods, especially if the project would push through and continue in the next six months.
“I told them the alternate routes being offered by Maynilad clearly cannot sustain the traffic volume. These are internal roads that will surely not be capable of carrying over 100,000 vehicles a day,” Revilla said.
“But they wouldn’t listen. While we recognize the importance of providing safe potable water to the public, we should not set aside the adverse effects of the project’s implementation on the lives of commuters and on commerce and industry in Cavite,” he said.
Revilla asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to monitor Maynilad’s plan, especially their lack of an excavation permit for the project.
The lawmaker advised the DPWH to ensure that Maynilad complied with all the necessary requirements, citing a satisfactory traffic re-routing plan as one of them, before issuing a permit. “If they issue a permit despite the absence of a satisfactory traffic plan, I will hold them accountable,” Revilla warned.
“In the meantime, I expect the DPWH to halt the project. They should not wait for me to go there personally,” Revilla said.
“This is why I urge Maynilad to postpone and reconsider its plan. While we recognize the importance of providing safe potable water to the public, we must first ensure that its adverse effects are properly addressed,” the senator added.
Revilla said he asked Maynilad to postpone the project until the completion of Molino Boulevard and the Coastal Road extension so that there would be viable alternate routes capable of carrying the traffic volume.