Armed cops vs EDSA traffic
Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Starting Monday, armed members of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will join forces with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) enforcers in a “psy-war” to instill discipline along EDSA, an official said yesterday.

The two law enforcement agencies will not spare commuters, motorcycle riders, bus drivers and private car owners in ensuring traffic discipline will prevail along traffic-choked Edsa, according to MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia.

“We want the people to know that the government is very serious in enforcing the law. Bukod sa in-e-enforce natin yan, (it’s also a) psy-war. Hindi niyo kayang bastusin o suntukin yan. Barilin kayo niyan. Hindi niyo kayang saksakin o sindakin yan (You can’t be rude to them or punch them. They’ll shoot you. You can’t stab or shock them), “ Garcia said.

The stretch of EDSA from Timog to Ortigas will be under the supervision of the PNP-HPG, while around 100 MMDA personnel will assist the police officers starting at 5 a.m. Monday.

The MMDA, under traffic czar Bong Nebrija, will supervise the traffic along the stretch of EDSA from Timog to Balintawak and from Ortigas to Pasay.

PNP-HPG traffic enforcement unit chief Lt. Col. Emmanuel Tabuena said their personnel will wear their complete uniform, even their firearms, to make them look “respectable” in front of motorists and commuters.

Tabuena said the Land Transportation Office has provided them with tickets to reprimand traffic violators.

“Hindi naman po sila huhulihin (They won’t be arrested). They will be informed and disciplined to follow traffic rules,” he said.

The PNP-HPG also deployed female riders as part of its gender equality program.

Carpooling eyed anew

The MMDA will also look into reviving the ban on single-occupancy vehicles by proposing a carpooling policy along EDSA.

Garcia said he will meet with House transportation chairman Rep. Edgar Sarmiento and Sen. Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate public services committee, to revive the proposal that was nixed by the Senate last year.

Garcia said the Senate resolution last year only called for the suspension of the ban on single occupancy vehicles due to lack of public consultations.

“The Senate did not say stop it. They just recommended holding it until further study,” Garcia said.

According to data from the MMDA’s traffic engineering center, 251,628 private vehicles comprised 65.557 percent of the average daily traffic along EDSA in 2018, while 13,356 buses only comprised 3.48 percent.

The contribution of private cars to traffic was slightly lower than in 2017, when 247,527 private vehicles comprised 67.31 percent of average daily traffic and 12,283 buses comprised 3.34 percent.

Garcia said while the MMDA will study extreme proposals like making EDSA one-way or coding vehicles based on vehicle brand, experts all agree that the volume of private vehicles primarily worsens traffic in Metro Manila.

He said carpooling is a more lasting solution to traffic instead of just banning vehicles, because private car owners will just replace their cars if the government cracks down on some models.

“If we give a policy on buses, we are anti-commuter, if there’s a policy on motorcycles, we are anti-rider, if we give a policy on private vehicles, we are anti-private owner. We need to all make sacrifices,” Garcia said.


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