House committee approves creation of Traffic Crisis Inter-Agency Management Council

Maris Federez   •   September 25, 2019   •   265

A general view of the traffic along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Simulation Lanes rehearsal in Manila, Philippines, 09 November 2015. EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday (Sept. 25) approved the House Resolution No. 353 which seeks the creation of the Traffic Crisis Inter-Agency Management Council.

This, even with the Executive department’s decision to withdraw its earlier request for emergency powers to solve the country’s worsening traffic problem.

The resolution targets to consolidate and harmonize the national and local government agencies and units in their policies on traffic and transportation.

The fast approval of the resolution was made possible because of the support of the agencies present in the hearing, such as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Land Transportations Office (LTO), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“Bawat isa mayroong role na makakatulong sa pagpapaluwag ng ating trapiko. Pati yung konstruksyon and repair ng ating road facilities. Tapos yung traffic sign. Tapos pagtutugma tugma naman ng probisyon ng mga traffic ordinances ng mga local government [Each one has its role that will help decongest the traffic. Even the construction and the repair of road facilities. Then the traffic signs. Then the matching of provisions of traffic ordinances of local government units],” LTO’s Asec. Edgar Galvante said.

Nevertheless, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the creation of the said council and the boundaries of its powers must be studied very well so as not to have it overlapped with existing government agencies, such as the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT).

 “We fully support the bill as long as there be no overlapping of functions. kasi nga mas magulo pagka sabi nga nila mas madaming kusinero mas magugulo yung niluluto [because it will be more chaotic, as they say, too many cooks will spoil the broth],” Garcia said.

House Committee on Transportation chairman Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, however, said the council will be more expedient in solving the traffic problem with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the helm, just as what had been the result of the clearing operations that were held nationwide.

“Ang pinakamadali talagang ahensya na humawak ay DILG kasi hawak nila ang local government units. parang sila dapat ang nagrerenda [The best agency to handle it is the DILG as it already handles the local government units. Like they should be the one policing] to harmonize the different policies,” Sarmiento stressed.

Following the resolution’s approval, a technical working group will be formed to discuss its details before it is elevated to and voted upon in the plenary. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

LTO suspends license of driver who dragged Manila traffic law enforcer

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Monday said it has temporarily suspended the license of the driver who dragged a Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) enforcer clinging onto his vehicle.

In a statement, the LTO said the license of the driver, identified as Orlando Ricardo Dizon, Jr., is suspended for three months while the vehicle involved has been “tagged for an alarm,” also for 3 months.

The agency said the lifting of this preventive suspension is subject to its approval.

It added that a show-cause order has also been issued to Dizon where he was directed to appear before the agency’s Intelligence and Investigation Division in Quezon City on November 21.

The LTO said it summoned Dizon to explain his alleged involvement in a traffic altercation and hit-and-run incident with MTPB enforcer Adrian Lim on Saturday, Nov. 16

In a CCTV footage, Lim was seen holding onto a swerving gray Mitsubishi Xpander as it sped along the street of Gelinos near Laong-Laan in Sta. Cruz. Lim sustained injuries after he lost his grip and fell from Dizon’s vehicle.

The incident reportedly ensued after Lim flagged down Dizon for a traffic law violation.

Dizon was apprehended by authorities at Oroquieta Street near Tayuman Street following the incident.

The LTO said that the driver’s employer, Digital Network Communications and Computers, Inc. (DNCCI), was also asked to explain why the company should not be penalized or fined for failure to exercise due diligence in hiring and supervising the driver.

The agency further directed Dizon and DNCCI’s Corporate Secretary to file a sworn explanation why the vehicle and Dizon’s driver’s license should not be held liable administratively.

Dizon is currently detained at the Manila Police District Station 3 and will face charges for hit-and-run and serious physical injury.

LTFRB opens application for special permits of P2P buses for SEA Games

Robie de Guzman   •   November 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Applications for special permits of point-to-point (P2P) buses to shuttle participants across venues of the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games is now being accepted, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said.

In an advisory issued Wednesday, Nov. 12, the LTRB said the application is open to units covering routes with drop off points on different SEA Games sporting venues.

The following routes are open for the application of special permits:

• Cubao – Angeles Pampanga (Auf Gym, Deca Clark Park, Pradera Verde), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• Cubao – Mabalacat (Clark New Group City), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• Cubao – San Fernando Pampanga (Laus Group Event Center), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• Cubao – Capas Tarlac (New Clark City Athletic Stadium), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• Cubao – Subic, Olongapo (Subic Bay Yacht Club, Sbeec, Malawan Park), Phil Ippine Arena via NLEX

• PITX – Angeles, Pampanga (Auf Gym, Deca Clerk Water Park, Pradera Verde), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• PITX – Mabalacat (Clark New Global City), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• PITX – San Fernando Pampanga (Laus Group Event Center), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• PITX – Capas, Tarlac (New Clark City Athletic Stadium), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• PITX- Subic, Olongapo (Auf Gym, Deca Clark Water Park, Pradera Verde), Philippine Arena via NLEX

• PITX- Calatagan, Batangas (Miguel Romero Sports Club) – November 24 to December 10 only

• PITX – Imus, Cavite (Vermosa Sports Hub) – December 2 to 5 only

• PITX – Tagaytay (Tagaytay Centrum) – December 5 to 10 only

• PITX – Sta. Rosa, Biñan, Laguna (Sta. Rosa Sports Complex, Biñan sport Complex) – November. 28 to December 2 only

• PITX – Los Baños, Laguna (Los Baños Centro Mall) December 3 to 9 only

To qualify for the special permit, a bus operator must submit to the board the necessary requirements including the latest registration (OR & CR), and updated personal passenger route.

The LTFRB said only 25 percent of the total authorized units per franchise is allowed, units applied should not be more than 10 years old from the date of manufacture, and the certificate of public convenience of the units should be valid during the period covered in the special permit.

Once approved, the LTFRB said the special permit will be valid from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

Buses with approved special permits for northbound routes are required to serve the route going to the Philippine Arena in Bulacan during the opening of the SEA Games on Nov. 30, the agency said.

Thousands of athletes and coaches, dignitaries, and spectators are expected to participate and watch the games to be hosted by the Philippines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

MMDA holds dry run of SEA Games traffic plan

Robie de Guzman   •   November 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday afternoon held a dry run of the stop-and-go scheme along major roads in Metro Manila for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The MMDA conducted the traffic simulation exercise along EDSA, Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, España Boulevard, Roxas Boulevard, Gil Puyat Avenue, Macapagal Boulevard and North Luzon Expressway from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The agency earlier said that the stop-and-go scheme aims to facilitate the fast movement of delegates and convoys of vehicles to and from venues of sporting events.

The MMDA said there is no designated or special lane for the convoy, but the yellow lane along EDSA will be made available for SEA Games delegates when they pass through major thoroughfares.

According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, the dry run went well except for some private vehicles that tried to ply the yellow lane during the simulation.

“So, naging problema po natin dito, y’ong mga private vehicles na nakikipagsiksikan din ho sa yellow lane which is nauna na ho nating naging advisory na ang yellow lane po ay ima-maximize para ho sa ating mga convoys,” she said.

This year’s SEA Games will open on November 30 in Bulacan and will close in the New Clark City in Tarlac on December 11.

Around 12,000 athletes and their coaches, 1,000 international media members, 15,000 volunteers, and spectators, among others are expected to participate and watch the games.

It features 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues. Although these events will be conducted in various parts of Luzon, a bulk of these tournaments will be held in Metro Manila.

Most of the delegates are expected to be billeted in 22 hotels around the metropolis.

Pialago warned motorists to expect delays in traffic in some of the main thoroughfares in Metro Manila during the event.

She also assured that additional traffic law enforcers will be deployed to man chokepoints in Metro Manila.

The agency earlier recommended the suspension of classes in some schools and universities around the venues of sporting events in Metro Manila.

The De La Salle University in Manila and La Salle Benilde have earlier announced the suspension of classes and work from December 2 to 7 in line with the SEA Games while other schools have yet to make any announcement. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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