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Tugade out, Cesar Sarmiento in? Bicolano politiko eyed as new Transportation Czar

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade might soon be on his way out of the Cabinet as more politikos and critics become disgruntled over the glaring lack of change in the sector he’s supposed to improve.

Eyed as Tugade’s replacement is Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, who heads the transportation committee in the House of Representatives, Politiko has learned.

The Bicolano politiko is said to have the backing not just of the House leadership, but also Malacañang officials for his appointment as Cabinet Secretary.

Sarmiento has been known for his diligence as a committee chairman even during the 16th Congress, giving the media and the public frequent updates on results of investigations his panel conducted.

It was during the hearings conducted by Sarmiento on the request for emergency powers sought by the executive branch that the Department of Transportation’s lack of plans for the expanded authority it wants was bared.

Following various hearings on bills granting the executive branch emergency powers, the panel found that the traffic crisis is concentrated in metropolitan areas only, particularly in Metro Manila and nearby Metro Cebu and Davao City, and the crisis is limited to land transportation.

This is in stark contrast to the DOTr’s claim that the traffic crisis has a nationwide scope and affects sea and air transportation as well.

Given that Tugade has failed to meet expectations on effecting change, it’s likely the job will be handled soon by someone who knows by heart the problems faced by the public in the transportation sector.