THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) will create a regional Inter-Agency Council for Traffic by that will compel several government agencies and local governments to serve as one traffic authority.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark De Leon, who visited Cebu yesterday, said that various government agencies and local government units (LGUs) will be included in the council, so that traffic management and traffic enforcement can be coordinated.

He said the participation of LGUs is based on the Local Government Code, which delegates the regulation of streets to municipal and city governments.

“Under RA 3146 (Traffic Code), the mandate on traffic is under DOTr and LTO (Land Transportation Office). LTO has the mandate to enforce the Traffic Code. But we also have various agencies working on matters related to traffic,” de Leon said.

To have a single traffic authority, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade formed the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT), which will use the strengths and resources of each agency.

These include the LTO, LGUs, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The council, De Leon said, can maximize the resources of each agency. For example, LTO has no smoke-belching equipment but the Cebu City Government might share its resources so that roadside testing of vehicles can be sustained.

“In a joint operation, the LTO can check the roadworthiness of the vehicle; the LTFRB can see to it that the vehicle has a franchise, and DENR can check if the vehicle’s emissions are not above the tolerable level,” De Leon said.

The lack of coordination--with different agencies being responsible for aspects of traffic management and infrastructure building--has often been brought up as one reason for traffic, which crosses political and physical boundaries.

Various proposals to create an inter-agency and inter-local government authority for Metro Cebu have been raised in Congress for more than two decades. The latest, the proposed Mega Cebu Development Authority, gained approval at the Lower House but was not acted on in the Senate. (EOB)