Press Releases

Salceda bats for elected NCR governor to manage common development policy for capital; House tax chair hopes Marcos will revisit former Manila Governor Imelda Marcos’s MMETROPLAN

May 31st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is pushing for the enactment of a law which would have the National Capital Region (NCR) governed as a single province, with powers similar to the Metro Manila Commission then established by President Ferdinand E. Marcos and first headed as Governor by former First Lady Imelda Marcos. Salceda says that the NCR is “too big, too populous, and too important to have disunited transport, urban development, planning, crisis response, and economic convergence policies.”

“The result of disunited policy and planning for the NCR is that you have 17 different kingdoms with disjointed traffic, disaster management, urban development efforts. Whether we admit it or not, whether we like it or not, much of the country’s commerce passes through NCR. So, when NCR doesn’t get its policy right, everybody else also suffers,” Salceda said.

“One example of that is the ban on provincial buses in EDSA. MMDA is denying they did it. DOTr is denying they did it. Provincianos suffered the most from the confusion. So, let’s just set is as, okay, the NCR Commission or Province is in charge of all roads in NCR that are not municipal or city roads. And let’s make the NCR governor an elected official so that they are more responsive to the needs of the people,” Salceda said.

“Disaster response is also frequently a problem in NCR. During disasters, you want maximum coordination, and that’s very difficult to do without someone who’s accountable for the coordination. As a former Governor known for disaster response, I can attest to the wide latitude of disaster response capabilities that are not accessible to the NCR because it does not have a governor,” Salceda added.

Salceda also says that “it does not make sense for some areas to have vastly different policies in NCR. Take, for example, the Ortigas-Greenhills area is composed of four LGUs. You don’t want to have disjointed policies among the four LGUs there.”

Salceda also cited examples across different countries. “The Australian Capital Territory, which is around four times the size of NCR, is governed as one entity. It has its own Chief Minister with its own legislative assembly. Washington DC is governed as one territory, with its own Mayor and City Council.”

“The most appropriate parallel is probably the huge Tokyo Metropolitan Government, with 14 million people like NCR. It has its own governor, and its own Metropolitan Assembly. There are 26 cities and 5 towns within the Tokyo Government, much like the NCR Metropolitan Province will have several cities,” Salceda added.

“And, in all such areas, transport, traffic policies, planning, and disaster response are simply much more harmonious.”

Marcos, Abalos “likely to be aware” of current NCR problems

Salceda also said that President-elect Marcos and DILG Secretary-designate Benhur Abalos are “likely to be aware of the limits of NCR’s current governance structures.”

“The President-elect knows this issue very well. I’ve heard him speak some time ago as a Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Local Government, about transport and planning issues in NCR. So, I know he is acutely aware of the issues around NCR government.”

“I’m sure Secretary-designate Abalos has been frustrated by some issues he could not resolve because of the limits of the powers of MMDA.”

Revive central NCR plan

Salceda also wants to revisit the central plan prepared by the Imelda Marcos governorship of Metro Manila to see what can be done “so that NCR is an engine, not a bottleneck, to better distribution of national development to the provinces.”

“I hope President-elect Marcos revisits the potentials of the Metro Manila Commission. Of course, the former first lady [Imelda Marcos] was after all, the first NCR governor. And that was a time where we saw notable programs such as the Metro Manila Transport, Land Use and Development Planning Project (MMETROPLAN), which was completed in 1977. We also saw the Love Bus, which is still a good idea.

“All in all, I think governing NCR as one political entity, as opposed to just an administrative division, will help both NCR residents and provinces like those in Bicol, which, for better or worse, depend on an efficiently-governed NCR for much of its trade, commerce, and transportation.”

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