“Abolish MMDA now”. Representative Joel Chua, Congressman of the 3rd District of Manila did not mince words, nor waste time during his privilege speech. According to the congressman who also happens to be a lawyer, the Metro Manila Development Authority eats into the government’s funds for projects that he alleges are not carried out or implemented. Its operations are also being questioned by the Congressman, and he reiterated that their presence is merely to coordinate but not carry out actions within LGU jurisdiction.
“MMDA is disruptive. Panggulo sa buhay ng mga residente at ng mga negosyo…“
In a very surprising statement, Rep. Chua called for the immediate abolition of the MMDA. Citing the agency’s demolition, sidewalk clearing, and towing operations as being done without proper coordination with the barangay, City Hall, and the police. This along with alleged corruption in the form of budget allocation from the national government and even the agency’s employee headcount was brought up in Chua’s speech.
These activities of the MMDA were said to exceed the agency’s mandate which, according to Republic Act 7924 is only “planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in the process exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide services within Metro Manila without diminution of the autonomy of the local government units concerning purely local matters”.
This is where it gets tricky for all parties involved.
Calling out RA 7924, there are some valid points. However, what’s clearly seen by many citizens in favor of the MMDA’s continuous operations is that there is an obvious lapse in the LGU’s implementation and enforcement of proper law and order. Many instances including allowing street and sidewalk parking (sometimes even with fees that are paid to the Barangay) and sidewalk businesses (carwashes, stalls that leave no room on the sidewalk for pedestrians to walk on) have been recorded during towing and clearing operations. Take note that it’s the citizens themselves that would ask for help in dealing with such situations.
To say that some local government officials have been remiss and worse, complicit, with such acts is acceptable, even warranted. Granted, some of these operations have been or are being conducted without proper coordination with the parties involved, but should an agency such as the MMDA that only seeks law and order wait on individuals within the LGUs to act alongside if they are the ones who allow the disorder themselves?
As we said, very tricky.
We cannot discount the fact that the MMDA has had its share of bad raps in the decades since its establishment. But when speaking of its daily operations led by Task Force Special Operations (TFSO) Head Edison “Bong” Nebrija, we believe that vox populi is clearly on his and his team’s side. But this transcends beyond the TFSO and touches on the agency as a whole. Despite Rep. Chua’s specific concerns regarding the TFSO, the entire agency has just been put on the proverbial chopping block with its fate now resting on Congress.
Well, that is until a petition and resolution have subsequently been passed, at least.
Is the MMDA doing a good job? Does the good congressman from Manila have points strong enough to bring the end of the MMDA, its “bad reputation”, and all the good that they’ve done along with it? In the worst case where LGU officials themselves are involved in “unsavory” and improper activities, who will police the police, so to speak?
It’s going to be a doozy, and that’s a definite understatement. Are you for or against the abolition of the MMDA? Tell us why.