Lawmaker pushes to legalize ‘habal-habal’ ops amid Metro Manila traffic woes

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019   •   159

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker is pushing to make the operations of “habal-habal”, or motorcycle-for-hire, legal amid worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1025 or Motorcycles-for-hire Act, Senator Sonny Angara proposes to classify motorcycles-for-hire as public transportation, amending Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

The code only allows the registration of motorcycles for either private or government and prohibits its listing as a vehicle for hire.

Under the proposed amendment, Angara wants motorcycles to be registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as ‘for hire’ and may be used as a commercial vehicle to transport passengers and goods.

Angara’s proposal comes after the Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) implemented partial operations while it is repairing its power rectifiers that were damaged after it caught fire early this month.

“Commuting in Metro Manila has become very challenging. A typical commuter has to allocate at least two hours to get to work or school and that is if their regular modes of transport are available. What if the MRT breaks down? Kulang pa ang dalawang oras mo sa byahe,” he said in a statement.

“Tulad nitong nangyari sa LRT-2 na nasunog. Libo libong Pilipino ang naperwisyo nito at karamihan sa kanila ay habal na ang sinasakyan para mas mabilis makarating sa destinasyon nila at mas mura din ito kumpara sa Grab,” he added.

According to Angara, the heavy traffic and glitches in mass transit systems in Metro Manila have forced some commuters to look for other transportation options such as hiring commercial motorcycles even if it is considered illegal under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

“The demand for this service simply cannot be ignored, which is why I have filed a bill seeking to legalize the operation of motorcycles-for-hire,” he said.

Angara cited the case of motorcycle ride-hailing service Angkas, which was recently allowed to operate for six months as part of a pilot-run of ‘motorcycle taxis.

The Department of Transportation earlier said this is to help lawmakers finalize proposals on motorcycle ride booking.

Under the bill, a motorcycle may register for transporting passengers if it has a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters and a backbone-type built.

The LTO will be tasked to ensure the roadworthiness of motorcycles-for-hire before they are registered.

To further ensure their safety, no modifications on the motorcycles will be allowed, except for the installation, based on safe engineering design specifications, of motorcycle luggage carriers, saddlebags, step boards or footpegs and appropriate speed limiter and monitoring device.

Malls in Metro Manila to adjust operating hours starting Nov. 11 – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Operators of shopping malls in Metro Manila have agreed to adjust their operating hours during the holiday season to help in the bid to ease the country’s traffic woes, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday.

The MMDA said mall operators agreed to open shop an hour later than the usual time at 11 a.m. during weekdays starting November 11, 2019, until January 10, 2020.

Mall sales will also be prohibited from Monday to Friday in the same period, the MMDA said.

Deliveries of non-perishable goods will also be limited at night time, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Shopping mall operators also agreed on deploying additional security personnel to direct the flow of vehicles going inside mall parking areas which cause traffic gridlock.

They also agreed to remove obstructions on loading and unloading bays in mall vicinities.

The MMDA said the agreement was made during their meeting on Tuesday which tackled traffic contingency measures to ease the anticipated traffic, particularly along EDSA, during the holiday season.

The agency estimates there are at least 100 shopping malls in Metro Manila.

“Traffic is already bad and we expect it to get worse as the number of vehicles increases daily,” said MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia.

Road reblocking along EDSA and C5 will also be temporarily suspended in the same period, except for government flagship projects and emergency cases, according to the MMDA.

Manila Water customers warned of new round of service interruptions starting Oct. 24

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Water on Tuesday warned its customers of a new round of water service interruptions which could start this week amid declining water level in Angat Dam.

In a series of advisories posted on Facebook, the concessionaire announced the schedule of rotating water supply interruptions that may possibly be implemented in the east zone of Metro Manila and nearby provinces beginning Thursday, Oct. 24.  

“Ito ay posibleng kailanganing isagawa upang mapagkasya ang limitado pa ring supply ng tubig hanggang sa susunod na tag-araw, maging sa kabuuan ng susunod na taon, kung sakaling hindi na umabot pa sa inaasahang 212 meters na lebel ang Angat Dam sa pagtatapos ng 2019,” Manila Water said.

The utility firm said supply interruptions, which are scheduled between 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day, may affect selected barangays in Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Manila, Makati, Marikina, Parañaque, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, and Taguig.

#TubigAdvisory METRO MANILAKung magpapatuloy ang pagbaba ng lebel ng Angat Dam, posibleng ipatupad ng Manila Water ang…

Posted by Manila Water on Monday, 21 October 2019

The rotating service disruption may also affect Manila Water customers in Rizal Province, including in barangays Angono, Antipolo, Baras, Binangonan, Cainta, Jalajala, San Mateo, Taytay, Rodriguez, and Teresa.

#TubigAdvisory RIZAL PROVINCEKung magpapatuloy ang pagbaba ng lebel ng Angat Dam, posibleng ipatupad ng Manila Water…

Posted by Manila Water on Monday, 21 October 2019

As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Angat Dam’s water level is at 186.46 meters. The dam’s water elevation has consistently declined in the past few weeks due to a lack of heavy rainfall that could have raised its reserves.

The water concessionaire also urged its clients to conserve water and to store only enough supply for the impending service interruptions.

Last week, the west zone water concessionaire Maynilad also warned its customers to prepare for another round of service interruptions due to dipping water levels at Angat and Ipo dams.

LIST: Weekend road repairs, reblocking in Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Several roads in Metro Manila will be closed to motorists starting Friday night for the scheduled road repairs and reblocking.

In an advisory, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said road repair works on the following roads will begin 11 p.m. Friday (Oct. 18) until 5 a.m. Monday (Oct. 21):

SOUTHBOUND:

  • EDSA Camp Crame Gate to after Annapolis St. (beside MRT)
  • EDSA before Estrella (outer lane)
  • EDSA Panorama Bldg. to Bansalangin St. (1st lane from sidewalk)
  • G. Araneta T. Arguelles to Bayanin (1st lane from sidewalk)

EASTBOUND:

  • Quirino Highway Quezon City King Fisher to Belfast (inner lane)
  • General Luis St. Rebisco Road to SB Road
  • Elliptical Road after Maharlika St. (6th lane from outer sidewalk)

NORTHBOUND

  • Bonifacio Ave. J. Pineda St. to Marvex St. (2nd lane from sidewalk)
  • EDSA after Aurora Blvd. to New York St. (3rd lane from sidewalk)
  • Katipunan Ave./C-5 after CP Garcia St. (truck lane)
  • EDSA near NIA South Road (3rd lane from the sidewalk)

Affected motorists are advised to avoid said areas and use alternate routes instead.

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