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Opinion

Prime real estate

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino admitted defeat in ridding EDSA of vendors who have occupied areas in front of Balintawak market. This after the PNP HPG on its first day cleared the area of vendors and parked vehicles. Motorists were surprised to experience light traffic in the area. Some have even gone as far as to call it a miracle. Of course, the fact that the HPG are all armed law enforcers have everything to do with it. MMDA traffic enforcers are unarmed and let's face it, just do not have the respect of these vendors who would readily resort to violence if told to leave. There is wisdom in speaking softly but carrying a big stick.

If this is the language that vendors understand, then the HGP must speak to all those who continue to occupy the streets. There is a stretch along Taft Ave. in Pasay City where the vendors have not only occupied the entire street, but practically live there as well. That stretch is of no use to motorists, considering Taft Ave. is a principal thoroughfare. How did this happen? Was this allowed by the local government? Do they pay any form of rent for occupying the road? We see the same thing in front of markets all over the metro. Vendors taking to the streets, thereby reducing the width of the roads that could be useful in today's horrendous traffic.

The HPG is going in the right direction. But they have to enforce it at all times. These vendors have the habit of coming back after they feel that things have "cooled off." Whatever stretch of road that has been of no use to motorists must now be taken back. The number of cars on the road is staggering. According to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), around twenty-five thousand new cars are sold every month, thanks in part to the good economy and aggressive marketing by manufacturers. More and more people are now able to buy their own cars. And there lies the problem. Which is why the number-coding or odd-even scheme may be useless if almost everyone has at least two cars.

In Manila, many houses only have garages for one vehicle. But more often than not, they now own two or even more vehicles that are parked on the streets. Some have recommended that a law be passed stating a person cannot buy a car if he does not have a place to park it in. A lawmaker now wants to pass a law making Metro Manila a "no parking zone." I really doubt if these two suggestions would even be tackled by both houses. But cars that no longer run or are left on the streets to rot must be taken away. The need to take back the roads is a no-brainer. If the number of cars on the road continue to increase, then every inch of road is now prime real estate.

korina_abs@yahoo.com

BALINTAWAK CARS CHAIRMAN FRANCIS TOLENTINO CHAMBER OF AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS OF THE PHILIPPINES IN MANILA METRO MANILA NOW PASAY CITY QUOT TAFT AVE VENDORS
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