Owner of dismantled EDSA sheds complains vs MMDA

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The owner of the six bus waiting sheds along that were dismantled last week by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday denied the agency’s allegation that the structures were “ilegally-built."

In a statement, lawyer Linda Jimeno, counsel for the High Desert International (HDI) StopOvers Inc. owner of the six waiting sheds added that contrary also to the claim of the MMDA, the six waiting sheds were not erected two weeks prior to the MMDA’s demolition last January 17.

Jimeno added that the waiting sheds are legal but had to be dismantled by the MMDA as part of the agency’s ongoing implementation of the bus segregation scheme along EDSA.

"The six structures that were the subject of dismantling and as specified in the MMDA’s letter request were only rendered illegal because of MMDA's new bus-segregation scheme. They don't have a use for those sheds anymore, to which we agree,"Jimeno said.

Jimeno clarified that the waiting sheds are covered by a contract already ruled by the court in favor of HDI. Jimeno said the MMDA was aware of this when it sent a letter to HDI on January 16 informing it of the demolition.

"By the mere fact that they sent a letter to HDI meant that they acknowledge HDI's position on this matter," she said.

According to Jimeno, the MMDA sent a letter to HDI general manager Darmo Castillo last January 16, 2013. The letter which was received at 5:14 p.m., advised HDI to remove the structures at the soonest time or otherwise, the agency will undertake the demolition at the company's expense.

Jimeno said the MMDA should have given HDI enough time to dismantle the structures. She said the letter was received on Jan 16, 2013 at 5:14 p.m. The MMDA started the demolition on January 17, 2013 at 9 a.m.

"HDI doesn't subscribe to such activities (dismantling) during day time because of the traffic it will cause. The dismantling was done with full media coverage which put the company in a bad light," Jimeno said.

Jimeno said HDI, which has been constructing and maintaining public transport shelters since 1992, is willing to work with the MMDA to avoid any miscommunication in the future. 

“The company would like to assure the public and the agency that we are more than willing to coordinate and improve communication channels with the agency to avoid miscommunications like what happened,” Jimeno said.
HDI waiting sheds removed by the MMDA were those located along EDSA at Kaingin, Reliance, Ortigas - MRT Station, Shaw Blvd. – Starmall, Main Avenue, and Bansalangin.

“These structures have caused confusion among commuters and bus drivers, particularly with the implementation of the bus segregation scheme, as they have been mistaken as legitimate bus stops,” MMDA chairman Framcis Tolentino earlier said.

Tolentino earlier also said the waiting sheds were installed without clearance from MMDA.

Tolentino added that the waiting sheds were built overnight and were painted green to make it appear that these were put up by the MMDA. However, Tolentino said under the bus segregation scheme, bus stops are either painted blue or red.

Last December 18, the MMDA implemented the bus segregation scheme on EDSA. Under the scheme, the MMDA segregates bus stops along EDSA by making them alternately exclusive to “A,”“B” and “C” buses.

“A” buses are those that ply the EDSA-Alabang route and will only stop to pick-up or unload passengers at “A” bus stops (waiting sheds that are painted red) while “B” buses are those that ply the EDSA-Baclaran route and will only stop at “B” bus stops (waiting sheds that are painted blue). “C” buses meanwhile can stop in all bus stops.

The MMDA has marked the following bus stops (waiting sheds) as “A” bus stops: (Southbound) Ermin Garcia, Arayat Cubao, VV Soliven, Connecticut, Shaw Starmall, Guadalupe, Buendia Ave., Mantrade; (Northbound) Ermin Garcia, Cubao Farmers, Boni Serrano, SM Megamall, Shaw Blvd., Guadalupe, Buendia Ave. and Magallanes.

“B” bus stops are: (Southbound) Kamuning, Monte de Piedad, Main Ave., POEA Ortigas, Pioneer/Boni, Estrella and Ayala Ave. (Northbound) Baliwag/5Star, Main Ave., Ortigas Ave., SM Megamall, Pioneer/Boni, Estrella and Ayala Ave.

According to the MMDA, more than 3, 600 city buses plied EDSA on a daily basis, while another 7, 368 provincial buses whose companies operate terminals in the metropolis also used the same highway.

Metro buses are only allowed to use the two rightmost lanes of EDSA, commonly called the yellow lanes.

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