The House Committee on Metro Manila Development chaired by Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) assessed the preparations being undertaken by the government to ease traffic during the Christmas season.
“The experience is that on the advent of Christmas season, the traffic gets worse. I hope we can institute plans to at least minimize the traffic,” said Castelo at the start of the hearing on Monday.
Retired General Manuel Gonzales, the Head of the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that last Friday, they had a coordination meeting with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic officials, the 17 local government units (LGUs) chief traffic enforcers and the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to synchronize and harmonize their plans for the coming Christmas season.
“The Representatives of Metro Manila would like to be apprised on the mechanisms and actions to minimize the effect of traffic,” said Castelo.
In his brief presentation, Gonzales detailed their “Traffic Management Plan 2018 Christmas Season.”
Gonzales cited that they have five recommendations contained in the anti-traffic plan, namely: 1) enforcement operations; 2) moratorium on all utility works and road diggings to be conducted from December 1, 2018 to January 9, 2019; 3) moratorium on road closures for special events such as community fair, fiesta, fun run, concerts, among others); 4) extended Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or number coding from 7 am to 8 pm; and 5) mall operations.
Under enforcement operations, Gonzales cited the following recommendations of the agencies: 1) anti-illegal parking operation in all Mabuhay Lanes; 2) allowing parking from 12 midnight to 4 am only in selected areas; 3)sidewalk clearing operations; 4) anti-colorum operations; and 5) traffic law enforcement (TLE) operations.
For mall operations, the following were recommended to ease traffic :1) traffic management plans during holiday, and sale; 2) No Mall Sale on Fridays; 3) deploy additional traffic enforcers during mall sale; 4) efficient parking systems so that there will be no queuing along major thoroughfares while entering mall parking lots; and 5) delivery between 12 am to 6am only.
The anti-traffic plan also includes the following proposed measures of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to counter traffic during the Yuletide season: 1) deploy road safety marshals in major thoroughfares to prevent traffic gridlock, in coordination with the concerned agencies; 2) ensure road worthiness of public transport in coordination with I-ACT and other concerned agencies; 3) mobilize radio groups, motorist assistance and inform the public of their deployments and hotlines; 4) intensify anti-carnapping and anti-hijacking operations; 5) provide public safety tips on road safety, anti-carnapping and anti-hijacking; 6) provide timely information to HPG-Traffic Operation Center (HPG-TOC) for widest dissemination and response operations; and 7) implement PNP Memorandum Circular No. 028-2018 Campaign Plan: Clean Rider in coordination with PNP territorial units.
Castelo said the success of the Mabuhay Lanes will depend on the support of LGUs because these lanes are situated in narrow roads.
“The key is clearing of these roads and also the putting up of signages. Kailangan din ng manpower,” said Castelo. He asked if signages are already put up on the Mabuhay Lanes.
Castelo also advised the MMDA to actively promote the availability of the Mabuhay Lanes as lawmakers have yet to hear about the availability of such alternate lane routes.
Likewise, Castelo said the traffic enforcers should also be equipped with enough logistics, manpower and political will to successfully remove all road obstructions.
Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez (1st District, Manila) said the concerned government agencies should be able to decongest the usual four chokepoints namely: 1) SM North Edsa and EDSA Trinoma; 3) EDSA Shaw Blvd where EDSA Shangri-la and SM Megamall are situated nearby; and 4) EDSA Taft.
“Paulit-ulit na lang. You can’t play blind. Kindly take note of the perennial traffic in these areas especially with the coming Christmas,” said Lopez.
Rep. Federico Sandoval II (Lone District, Malabon City) queried how the concerned agencies are able to communicate the traffic situation with their enforcers. The MMDA said they have CCTV cameras and they send reinforcement especially in areas where there have been accidents.
Photo from Philstar