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APEC security task force apologizes for traffic mess

Motorists endures heavy traffic as APEC lane is seen clear at EDSA Shaw on Nov. 17, 2015. STAR/Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation-Security Task Force (APEC-STF) apologized yesterday for the heavy traffic on Monday due to road closures in line with preparations for the summit.

Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, spokesman of the APEC-STF, said authorities tried their best to implement corrective measures to improve the situation.

“We apologize for the traffic and we are asking for the understanding of the public,” Mayor said during a press briefing at the Multi-Agency Coordinating Center at One Esplanade in Pasay City.

Authorities, however, said people were also partly to blame for the traffic congestion, noting that the government issued enough advisories about road closures and traffic rerouting.

Highway Patrol Group director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao said the public seemed to have ignored the advisories.

Gunnacao said traffic constables of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were directed to assist motorists in finding alternative routes.

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On Monday, traffic was at a standstill in many parts of the metropolis due to several road closures.

Gunnacao said starting at 7:30 a.m. yesterday, the stretch of NAIA Road to Roxas Boulevard was closed as majority of the 21 economic leaders participating in the summit started to arrive.

He said road closures were in effect for about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the travel time of the officials.

Smooth trip for APEC leaders

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Joel Pagdilao said the trips of the economic leaders from the airport to their billeting areas went smoothly.

“Our security operations for today are so far, so good. We are looking for our engagement in the venue tomorrow,” Pagdilao said, adding that they are now focused on securing the Philippine International Convention Center where the event would be held starting today.

Motorists and commuters, on the other hand, once again found themselves in heavy traffic on EDSA as the APEC summit formally started yesterday.

At 11:20 a.m., several roads were suddenly closed prior to the arrival of US President Barack Obama.

Closed were EDSA-Buendia (southbound), Skyway from Nichols/Sales to Magallanes (both directions), MIA/NAIA Road (both directions), approaching EDSA-Magallanes split (both directions), Ayala Tunnel (both directions), whole stretch of Magallanes Interchange (both directions), Airport Road (both directions), Domestic Road (both directions) and Quirino Avenue (both directions). – With Robertzon Ramirez, Mike Frialde, Evelyn Macairan, Non Alquitran

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