Palace renews plea as traffic woes linger

As efforts to ease  traffic  congestion in Metro Manila enter  its second week and still no relief in sight,  Malacañang on Sunday renewed its  appeal  to the public to support the traffic enforcers at  Edsa  so that the worsening situation  would soon be resolved.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made a public appeal on state-run radio, saying the enforcers deserve support for their efforts to solve a  problem.  “We are entering the second week of implementation of different kinds of traffic rules and regulations in order to ease traffic congestion and speed up the flow of traffic. “ 

Gridlock. Motorists crawl on Roxas Boulevard on the way to the airport on Sunday as a result of the gridlock. Danny Pata

Traffic schemes include truck ban effective Sept. 15 and truck deliveries would be prohibited from 6-10 a.m. to 6-10 p.m. Carpooling  was also being considered to go hand in hand with the lifting  of the number-coding  scheme for both private and public utility vehicles.

Coloma said these efforts  would require  close coordination  among agencies.   “I hope we can  be united with the    traffic enforcers of the HPG [Highway Patrol Group], MMDA [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority], LTO [Land Transportation Office], and LTFRB [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board] in their implementation of the traffic laws,” Coloma also said.

Coloma   said the government will also fix Macapagal Boulevard, where the road leading  to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,  was destroyed during a construction of a flyover.

“The roads will be fixed. Immediate attention and actions will be taken,” said Coloma.

Vehicles passing    through Macapagal Boulevard now takes about two hours    before they can go through the road now riddled with large pot holes, causing tremendous traffic in Baclaran, Coastal Road, the NAIA complex,    Mall of Asia, City of Dreams, Sucat Road, Airport Road,    the Senate, the Government Service and Insurance System, as well as other areas connecting to it.  

On  Sept. 9, the morning after a heavy downpour and floods  snarled traffic for more than five hours, the Palace said that the police takeover of traffic management on Edsa was effective.

“The past two days are proof that the initial steps being taken to ease the traffic situation were effective, and government will continue to strive to improve our interaction and interoperability among concerned government agencies,” said Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras in a statement.

But the following day, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said people should not expect traffic congestion in Metro Manila to be solved overnight  because the solutions needed are long-term.

“We will not be able to solve this in the short term because the response to this really needs a long- term solution. But in the meantime, we are looking at ways by which we can mitigate the problem,” Abad said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

Meanwhile, the MMDA   clarified that it was not totally pulling  out from EDSA following the takeover of the  HPG  last September 7.

“I would just like to clarify that the MMDA was not pulled out from    EDSA. We are helping out the    HPG,” Crisanto Saruca, officer-in-charge (OIC)    of the MMDA’s Officer of the Executive Director, said.

While the HPG has full control of the traffic managementin  six major chokepoints on EDSA,Saruca said    traffic personnel of the MMDA are deployed in other problematic intersections on the main thoroughfare including Muñoz and Santolan areas.

Saruca said since the HPG has jurisdictional control over MMDA personnel on EDSA, the police group can assign their constables anywhere on the main thoroughfare.

Saruca also clarified that since September 7, the first day of the implementation of a new traffic scheme as ordered by Presisdent Benigno Aquino III,    the HPG has jurisdictional control over the MMDA constables who were ordered to remain on EDSA.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, meanwhile, explained that there was a strict directive that their constables should not be deployed on the six major chokepoints, which are being manned by the HPG.

The six major chokepoints identified by    Aquino were Balintawak, Quezon Avenue, Cubao, Ortigas, Shaw Boulevard, Guadalupe and Taft Avenue.

By Monday, Tolentino said that MMDA personnel will again be seen at the six chokepoints as requested by the HPG.


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