Still and all, ’twas peaceful

THE PNP yesterday said the overall situation during Holy Week was “generally peaceful” despite a number of untoward incidents and recorded crimes.

PNP chief Alan Purisima said he allowed regional police directors to downgrade their alert levels depending on the prevailing situation in their areas.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said at least 12 died, 531 were injured and two are missing.

Eduardo Batac, acting NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense administrator, said of the 12 fatalities, seven drowned.

They were three-year-old Blizz Eilengie Tesorio (Maundy Thursday), Roland Deo, 33, of Bolinao, Pangasinan (Black Saturday), Avelino Daliri, 29, of Ilagan, Isabela (Good Friday), Venancio Dumon, of Echague, Isabela (Good Friday), Felimon Aclan, 25 of Batangas City (Good Friday), Junior Redondo and Richard Matanguihan, of Tanauan City (Maundy Thursday).

Cristy Dion, 39, of San Fabian, Pangasinan and Apple Joy Carion, 13, of Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro, remain missing as they were swept by strong currents last Black Saturday.

Romeo Parahinog, 18, of Angono, Rizal and Simon Abitong Jr, of Antipolo City, were killed in vehicular accidents on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; Lowie Bulso, of Lipa City died in a fire on Good Friday; Sofronie Jamis Bombeo, 50, was killed in a shooting rampage in Libertad, Misamis Oriental on Maundy Thursday; and a militiaman was killed by communist rebels in Butuan City on Good Friday.

Director Alex Paul Monteagudo, PNP director for operations, said Oplan SumVac (Operational Plan Summer Vacation) will still be in effect today as thousands are expected to return from the provinces.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it would focus its traffic management efforts on key chokepoints namely Balintawak and Mindanao Avenue in the north and Magallanes in the south.

MMDA Traffic Engineering Center director Noemi Recio said they have traffic constables in place as part of the overall “Oplan Metro Alalay Semana Santa” or Oplan MASS which started last March 22.

Under Oplan MASS, the agency has deployed 1, 847 traffic enforcers along with tow trucks, emergency and communication vehicles, including the three “Agila” vans fitted with communications and monitoring equipment, and ambulances.

The 60-kilometer per hour (kph) speed limit along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City and the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Paranaque will be in effect.

Operators of the South Luzon and North Luzon Expressways will be enforcing a speed limit of 100 kph for cars, jeeps and pick-ups not more than seven feet high and 80 kph for buses and trucks. The minimum speed remains at 60 kph.

MMDA said the “number-coding” will remain suspended until tomorrow except for Makati City which will enforce the scheme starting today.

MMDA opens bike lane in Makati-EDSA

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) opened a one-kilometer bike lane from Magallanes to Ayala Avenue along the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) on Thursday.

“We wanted to have bike lanes on the roads of Makati to further promote the healthy practice of using bicycles as everyday means of transportation,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino told reporters.

“These dedicated lanes are intended to ensure the safety of the bicycle riders who traverse Metro Manila’s major roads”, he added.

Users of the MMDA bikes should present a valid identification card to be issued a plastic card indicating the bike number. The issued card will then be surrendered at the control area where they will exit.

Manila Named 3rd Worst City For Driving

The capital of the Philippines, Manila, was been marked by the “CNNGo” travel and lifestyle website as the world’s third-worst city when it comes to driving.

The website mentioned that Filipinos’ concern about traffic clogging is their number one problem in the country and to be followed by the following, like air pollution, garbage collection, flood control and the need for security.

“So, Filipinos care more about getting to work on time than they do about respiratory ailments, mounting trash heaps, drowning or being assaulted?” it said.

According to CNNGo, Manila borrowed US$60 million last 2001 from the World Bank for transit-related activities.

“Among other things, the funds were meant to ‘promote the use of non-motorized transport,’” it added. “A campaign asking locals to ‘Please stop driving,’ however, wasn’t necessarily the best approach to traffic management.”

The website thinks that officials may be doing something to solve the traffic untidiness in the city. “Redeeming quality: You’re in a country in which smooth-flowing traffic is apparenly of utmost importance to residents. So, you gotta figure somebody, somewhere is working on the problem. Right?”

It was said that Beijing in China topped the list as the world’s third-worst place for driving, then followed by New Delhi in India.

The other cities that were also considered on the list are Mexico City in Mexico, Johannesburg in South Africa, Lagos in Nigeria, São Paolo in Brazil, Moscow in Russia, Toronto in Canada and Monaco.

MMDA doubts report

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officers expressed doubts regarding the report.

“Siguro hindi naman totoo iyan. Ano bang basehan nila? Convenience? Travel time?” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

“Ang ginagawa natin sinasama na rin natin ang mga residente para sila rin ang gumawa ng paraan against traffic,” he added.

The county is not being left behind with regards to the state of roads and vehicles, but he also mentioned that some Filipino drivers really need more discipline on the road.

“MMDA, under Chairman Tolentino’s strong leadership, is working hard to improve Metro Manila’s traffic situation,” according to Yves Gonzalez, agency’s traffic discipline unit head.

“We’ve implemented speed limits, motorcycle lanes, installed traffic light timers, utilized social media, and mobile apps to inform motorists,” he told

“All projects aimed at improving Metro Manila’s traffic situation. All this in less than 2 years, and we have a lot more ahead,” Gonzalez said.

MMDA’s New Pair Of Eyes: Mobile Metrobase

Early enough for the Holy Week migration, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is enlarging its vision to traffic hotspots not comprised by its closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) with the help of its newly launched “Mobile Metrobase.”

A black Hyundai Starex van with customized interiors equipped with TV screens, a microwave antenna, and a camera capable of a 360-degree view, this is the agency’s newest pair of electronic eyes who was then presented by MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino last Tuesday.

“We just took advantage of the existing technology, equipment and software in modifying the vehicle to suit our needs,” Tolentino said.

The van is equipped with 5 TV monitors, 3 of which show feeds from the major networks, another is connected to a laptop receiving feeds from the MMDA’s CCTV cameras around the metro, and another screen is for the traffic navigator system.

Inside the van may be operated by a three-man force which consists of a driver and 2 technicians.

The van may be operated by a three-man team—a driver and two technicians.

MMDA chair said that it would be easier for the agency to position traffic officers or emergency rescue teams for accidents or calamities, since the monitoring is now on wheels.

“We could use this during protest rallies and processions, like the Quiapo procession,” Tolentino added.

“Since the images being recorded by the mobile Metrobase are in real time, the agency can issue alerts to motorists more efficiently.” he added.

The mobile Metrobase could be sent as far as Pampanga for monitoring since we rely on microwave technology.

The attached camera can zoom in clearly on an object about one kilometer away.

Palace failed to stop transport groups

The Philippine government failed to stop transport groups from conducting a nationwide strike Thursday due successive petroleum price increases. This event forced the Department of Education to defer to local governments the decision to suspend classes in their respective localities on Thursday.

Edwin Lacierda said at a briefing in Malacañang “Mukhang hindi po magpapapigil… ang mga transport groups.  And so, in the alternative, we are preparing for the contingencies,” after Chairman of the Metro Manila Developer Authoriry (MMDA) Francis Tolentino Failed to convince the transport groups to cancel their strike.

George San Mateo Piston president said that transport groups wants oil companies to roll back diesel by 9pesos per liter and 10pesos in gasoline. Also the transport groups wants to scrap the 12-percent e-Vat on petroleum products to help stabilize the petroleum product prices.

Aside from Metro Manila the protest actions will also be held in the following cities in Thursday.

  • Bacolod in Negros Occidental
  • Baguio in the Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Butuan in Agusan del Sur
  • Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental
  • Cebu
  • Davao
  • Dumaguete in Negros Oriental
  • General Santos in South Cotabato
  • Iloilo in Iloilo province
  • Legaspi in Albay
  • Mandaue in Cebu
  • Roxas in Capiz
  • San Pedro in Laguna
  • Santiago in Isabela

Smoking Ban Warning

Smoking Ban Warning Philippines

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) started warning cigarette smokers on public places yesterday.

It is for the preparation for the smoking ban on July.

Smokers that are caught in public places are just warned and was given “no smoking” flyers.

Smokers who will be caught upon implementation of the smoking ban will pay P500 fine if caught for the first time, P1000 to P5000 fine for the second time and up to P10, 000 for the third time.

If the smoker cannot pay the fine, He/she needs to do community service like sweeping the streets.

Based on Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act in 2003, it is restricted to smoke on public places like sidewalks, roads, schools, hospital, public vehicle, and government offices.

Cigarette Vendors are complaining because selling cigarettes is their only living and it will be banned.

MMDA clarified that they don’t deprive smokers from smoking and cigarette vendors on selling cigarettes.

Puwedeng mag-yosi at magbenta ng yosi,. Ang ipinagbabawal lang po dito ay ‘yung manigarilyo kahit saan.” sabi ni MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board are assigned to punish PUV drivers who will be caught smoking while on a trip.

All set for Holy Week


All set for Holy Week

As reported by ABS-CBN, more than 1,000 traffic enforcers will be discharge starting this Wednesday, April 20.

These enforcers will be assigned to major thoroughfares, particularly EDSA and other exit points of Metro Manila, as part of MMDA’s Metro Alalay Semana Santa.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, will deploy 135,000 officers throughout the country and 5,000 in Metro Manila.

Well, it seems like our Authorities are already prepared for possible street traffics for next week’s Holy Week, as they will  also be manning bus and jeepney terminals, airports and shopping malls in anticipation of this Holiday.

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MMDA to lower fines for PUV drivers until March 25

Until March 25, drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) such as passenger jeepneys may get some relief from the lowering of fines by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Following a meeting with PUV operators, MMDA chairman Oscar Inocentes announced that the penalty for driving without license went down from P300 to P150.

“We understand the sentiments of the drivers, who virtually have to contend with different traffic enforcers and different traffic rules every day,” Inocentes said in an article posted on the MMDA website.

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MMDA eyes urinals for women, too

MANILA, Philippines – Soon, women will have their own pink urinals.

An official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday said there were also plans to put up toilets for women along Edsa following the establishment of urinals for male drivers.

MMDA General Manager Robert Nacianceno said women’s restrooms, which would be situated underneath footbridges on the major thoroughfare, was one of the agency’s proposed projects for this year.


Text in and be tracked

There’s another innovative project that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is experimenting on, which the populace seems to welcome and wishes to be further expanded, in contrast to some that have been proven to be unpopular but have stayed on for unexplained reasons, like the much maligned u-turns.

The ‘Trip Tracker’ is introduced by MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando to secure people who take public transport by logging the vehicles’ description, body number and plate number for possible future reference or tracking should something untoward happens to the commuter.

In an interview I had with MMDA executive, Angelito Vergel de Dios on the segment Motoring Forumof the long-running TV show Motoring Today, the executive director for traffic operations described how the system works. All a commuter has to do upon riding on the public utility vehicle is to text his or her name and the particulars of the vehicle. All these information would be logged into a central file and can be easily accessed should there be a need to track the said vehicle.