Commuters heading north were subjected to hours of traffic for only a few meters of flooding. Sen. Grace Poe has called for an investigation into the flooding along the San Simon area of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) that stuck motorists for many hours on the road.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 725, Poe said the inquiry by the appropriate committee is being sought “to determine whether proper due diligence was conducted in the operation and maintenance of the expressway” and to prevent a similar occurrence.
“The recent flood and traffic incident in the primary highways in Northern Luzon should not be taken lightly as its impact on the lives of the more than 350,000 daily average motorists traversing through it is immeasurable,” the chairperson of the Senate committee on public services said.
“A study shows that the disturbances in travel caused by flooding to Filipinos are extensive and have various effects depending on the characteristics of the traveler,” she added.
Poe pointed out that the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry has complained that its members were negatively affected by the NLEX flooding as it entailed additional fuel and manpower costs, as well as spoilage of goods and even penalties from customers. The unavailability of raw materials also affects sales and productivity.
Floods spurred by rains from typhoon “Egay” and the southwest monsoon caused water from the Pampanga River to flow into the expressway, particularly under Tulaoc Bridge in San Simon, Pampanga flooding the portion of NLEX.
Reports from the mainstream and social media showed motorists getting stuck in traffic jams extending up to five kilometers on both the northbound and southbound lanes of the expressway.
Poe stressed the urgency for concerned government agencies and the private operator of NLEX to address the worsening flooding and to implement effective long-term solutions.
The senator also noted that the NLEX has recently implemented a toll rate increase for highway users.
“NLEX is expected to continue its improvement and expansion projects in the expressway, especially with the increase in the toll fees,” Poe said.