The proposed budget of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for 2014 is P2.65 billion, or P1.2 billion higher than this year’s P1.48 billion.
It is twice bigger than the P1.36 billion it got last year.
The MMDA’s budget is booked in the national budget as Allocations to Local Government. On top of what it will receive from the national government, the MMDA is authorized to use collections from fines, fees and charges it may impose as well as mandatory remittances by its member LGUs.
As part of the innovations introduced in the 2014 national budget, the MMDA has identified key result areas which will serve as performance indicators.
These “major final outcomes” are grouped into three : Solid Waste Disposal and Management Services, Traffic Management Services and Flood Control and Sewerage Management Services.
On traffic management, it promises to achieve an average travel speed of 29 kilometers per hour on the 197 kilometers of road under its management. This can be used as baseline data in measuring improvement as we hope that vehicle velocity will gradually increase in the years to come.
It has also pledged a maximum 15-minute response time to 90 percent of traffic obstruction cases. It will repair 98 percent traffic signal outages within two hours.
Another target it has imposed upon itself is to limit fatalities from vehicular accidents to one third of one percent of total cases.
On flood control, MMDA is responsible for the upkeep of 595 kilometers of drainage channel and waterways, or a length equal to the distance of Manila to Baguio and back.
It has committed to declog these waterways at least thrice a year and monitor them continuously.
To its credit, it has measured the aggregate size of flood-prone areas at 3,845 hectares, where it will focus its flood control operations and deploy quick-reaction teams in times of flooding.
As to solid waste disposal, the volume “under its management“ is 55 percent of the 43,491 cubic meters that the whole region generates daily. It is targeting a full 100 percent compliance with the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Act of 2000.
This is MMDA’s equity in the struggle to make Metro Manila a livable city. The other stakeholders are the 17 local government units and the national government.
The latter, under the leadership of President Aquino, is initiating big-ticket projects, from connector roads to new light rail train lines to flood control projects, that will address the infrastructure needs of a bourgeoning megapolis.
I fully support the MMDA budget request for 2014 as I endorse action on some immediately actionable measures that will close the gaps in personnel need and boost the welfare of the existing MMDA workforce.
These include the hiring of 400 additional traffic enforcers so that major intersections and thoroughfares are manned until late at night and the grant of hazard pay to “boots on the ground” MMDA traffic enforcers who are exposed to hazardous elements like toxic air.
I am also proposing that in the national budget, the other national government projects in Metro Manila be presented alongside programs of the MMDA so that we will be given a regional snapshot of what the government intends to do next year.
Chairman Tolentino’s job is hard. He deserves all our support.