Calls for the abolition of the MMDA have made the rounds. Rep. Joel Chua of the 3rd District of Manila alleged that the towing and clearing operations of the agency were illegal and encroaching into the LGUs’ jurisdiction and power, and has since openly asked for support in abolishing the Metro Manila Development Authority. It took some time, but this was not taken sitting down, as we will find out below.
MMDA Chairman shows legal basis for agency’s operations
The MMDA was established under RA 7924. Calling the official document’s provisions, Acting Chairman Atty. Don Artes stressed that the authority given to them does not limit them to only major thoroughfares but includes interior roads as well, as can be seen under Sections 5e, 5f, and 5g.
The Metro Manila Council Resolution No. 02-28, s. 2002 was also referenced which gives the agency chairman the authority to implement policies on parking and discipline for all PUV and private vehicles in Metro Manila. In the said resolution, it was also indicated that the chairman, through the agency, can “execute policies and measures approved by the Council and be responsible for the efficient and effective day-to-day management of the operations…”. It can be remembered that the Metro Manila Council is comprised of all City Mayors within which the MMDA practices its jurisdiction.
Perhaps the biggest defense that Artes put forward was the inclusion of the following provision in the MM Council Resolution that states “the Office of the President… directed all Metro Manila Mayors and the Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strictly enforce traffic laws and remove all street and sidewalk obstructions, including among others, ‘makeshift stalls, basketball courts, and other illegal structures’… in order to effect the smooth flow of traffic in Metro Manila”.
This part all but shows the legitimacy of the agency’s clearing operations. Now we shall get to specifics.
Concerning clearing streets of basketball courts, sidewalks of vendor stalls, and even public carwashes, MM Council Resolution No. 13-12, s. 2012 clearly indicated that the Council “deems it urgent to clear the said public places from vendors and individuals and to strictly implement MMDA Resolution No. 02-28 entitled ‘Authorizing the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Local Government Units to Clear the Sidewalks, Streets, Avenues, Alleys, Bridges, Parks and other Public Places in Metro Manila of all Illegal Structures and Obstructions’, to ensure security and to facilitate the efficient movement of persons and goods”.
As for the towing operations, it is stated in MM Council Resolution No. 02-33, s. 2002 that on October 14, 2000, the authority of towing and impounding illegally parked and stalled vehicles in Metro Manila was given to the LGUs. However, MMC Ordinance 78-03 has been mandated in the aforementioned Resolution and “as amended, authorizes the Metro Manila Development Authority to tow illegally parked vehicles”.
Numerous other Resolutions have been shown by Atty. Artes to further justify their operations, emphasizing that these have widened their jurisdictions to all applicable streets and roadways, including side streets and alleys, and are no longer limited to just main thoroughfares and Mabuhay Lanes.
Artes estimates that the calls for towing and clearing from the public and residents make up 60-70% of their response and operations. These calls were said to be made through the 888 Presidential Hotline, of which, the Acting Chairman said that those orders come straight from Malacanan. They must report back to the Palace within 15 days and include their actions on the calls and requests, and therefore must carry out such directives in deference to the country’s seat of power.
If we look at comments regarding the calls to abolish the MMDA, some may agree, but there are more who do disagree. Most of what’s being said are that those who agree are those who do not want to have discipline instilled or want to be “enterprising” and be able to “extort” money from the public to line their palms and thicken their pockets. Don’t ask us, just go to the world wide web and see for yourself.
In any case, the MMDA has come out with guns blazing. By no means was this statement explicitly said, but after Artes’ presentation, perhaps the best thing to say in response to this is “Your move, Rep. Chua, et al”.