MMDA prepares APEC lanes on EDSA

Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – With the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit only days away, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is busy preparing the special lanes to be used by attending heads of state and delegates.

The MMDA has installed plastic barriers to segregate the two inner lanes of EDSA from the Mall of Asia area in Pasay City to Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong as “APEC lanes” for the delegates.

The southbound portion of EDSA from Shaw Boulevard to the Mall of Asia would be closed to traffic for as long as 30 minutes whenever an APEC head of state would pass through for security reasons.

MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos also reminded motorists that the stretch of Roxas Boulevard from Manila Hotel to the Airport Road in Pasay City would be closed to traffic in both directions from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20. 

Cabinet Secretary and Metro traffic czar Jose Rene Almendras has apologized to motorists for the inconvenience that will be caused by the road closures.

“They (APEC heads of state) have their own protocols. They are used to a certain amount of security and leniency and flexibility, so that protocol is something we have to give them when they come here…There will be periods wherein no vehicles will be allowed to move from Shaw Boulevard southbound for about 30 minutes. We do not know when will that happen. I am sorry, but we cannot predict it,” he explained.

“The good news is that the frequency of the closure is not going to be heavy from Shaw Boulevard because we only have one delegation that will be traveling that route. But from Makati going to the APEC zone (Philippine International Convention Center and Mall of Asia), there will be a lot more because you have more people, more heads of states staying in Makati.

“I am appealing to all motorists, all the people. We are hosting a very big event. So there are many important people that we need to make sure are going to be safe and can move around normally in a way they are able to move…If you don’t really have to do anything absolutely urgent in these areas, then don’t go there,” he added.

The MMDA also advised motorists and commuters that most of the EDSA closures would happen on Nov. 17 when majority of the APEC delegates are expected to arrive for the summit.

“We have so many people to welcome at the airport and need to transport to the hotels and these movements need absolute road closures,” Almendras said.

“It is not about avoiding traffic. It is not about that. These are not ordinary people, therefore we need to afford them the flexibility that they are used to when it comes to movements. We are not trying to show the world that there is no traffic congestion in Manila,” he added.

Carlos admitted there would still be traffic-related problems despite the suspension of classes and work in government offices during the APEC summit because the private sector will still be on regular work days.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said that security preparations for the APEC leaders’ meeting are in full swing.

NCRPO Director Joel Pagdilao, Task Group APEC Manila commander, said the venues of the summit and the hotels to be used by delegates and heads of state have all been secured.

Tabletop exercises were held with the Philippine National Police’s partner agencies to test the security preparations, operational readiness and adequacy of resources for the APEC activities.

According to Pagdilao, the tabletop exercises will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the 19 partner agencies involved as far as securing all dignitaries and delegates before and after the APEC meet.

Security preparations for billeting of the delegates have also been coordinated with concerned hotel security officers and the Presidential Security Group (PSG). – With Cecille Suerte Felipe


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