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MMDA: Edsa bus ban one of the best options in decongesting Metro Manila

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

MMDA personnel accost provincial buses traversing Edsa. (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday (April 30) that the impending implementation of the provincial bus ban on Edsa remains as one of the best alternatives to decongest Metro Manila roads.

MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija said in an interview that it is standing by its resolution of shutting down provincial bus terminals on Edsa despite a petition seeking for a temporary restraining order.

The petition was filed on Monday by AKO Bicol Party-list before the Supreme Court.

Nebrija added that opposing a policy before its implementation will only hinder the agency from doing its job.

Under MMDA Resolution No. 19-002, local governments are urged to revoke or prohibit the issuance of business permits to all terminals and operators of public utility buses and vehicles along EDSA.

When this policy takes effect in June, provincial buses will be required to drop off passengers at government-constructed terminals like those in Parañaque, Valenzuela City and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where they could transfer to city vehicles. 

In its 44-page petition, AKO Bicol argued that the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council have no authority to implement the ban as they were not authorized under the law to enact ordinances or approve resolutions. The group added that these are acts of police power that only individual local government units can exercise.

The group also said the measure was contrary to the Public Service Act which requires bus operators to maintain their own terminals as a requirement for the franchise, and that the move encroaches upon the authority of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to issue, amend and revoke certificates of public convenience to public utility vehicles.

But Nebrija stressed, the MMDA will only transfer and not abolish the provincial bus terminals on Edsa. He also added that the agency knows it has no police power that is why the resolution only urges local governments to shut down the terminals in their area.

If the policy is implemented next month, it would affect some 47 provincial bus terminals on Edsa. – Robie de Guzman

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Clogged drainage systems delay flood pumping operations — MMDA

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – It’s not yet typhoon season in the country but the prevailing rain showers and thunderstorms are already inundating most parts of Metro Manila, congesting traffic and affecting the riding public.

Personnel of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have been busy in de-clogging drainage systems such as a retarding pond along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

But according to the MMDA, flooding has already become a normal scenario in most parts of Metro Manila and there is no way to stop it.

“Hindi na po kasi namin maipapangako na hindi babahain ang Metro Manila. Ang Metro Manila (ay) napakababa ng sea level natin,” explained MMDA Spokesperson and ASec. Celine Pialago.

(We cannot promise at this point that flood will be prevented in Metro Manila because Metro Manila’s sea level is low.)

“Ang kaya na lang naming gawin at iyon ang sinisikap namin, pabilisin po ang paghupa dahil tuwing may pagbaha, may pagbigat sa daloy ng trapiko, may congestion, pinagdudusahan po natin ito,” she added.

(What we can do is to try hastening the drainage of flood water because every time there is flooding, the traffic flow gets heavier then congestion follows which burdens us all.)

What concerns the MMDA most is improper waste disposal that results in the clogging of drainage which leads to severe flooding in Metro Manila.

This is why the MMDA has started de-clogging operations to clean up wastes from tributaries ahead of the typhoon season.

“Kapag napupuno ng mga basura ‘yung mga esteros natin, nagbabaha sa Metro Manila, pina-pump natin ‘ang tubig,” Pialago said.

(When esteros are filled with waste materials they cause floods in Metro Manila. What we do is, we pump out the floodwater.)

“Worst case, nasisira ang ating pumping stations (so) nagkakaroon ng delay sa operations,” she added.

(Worst case is that our pumping stations end up broken which delays our operations.)

According to barangay officials in Binondo, they regularly clean up waste materials from Estero de Magdalena every Saturday.

However, after some time they once again saw a pile of garbage in the supposedly cleaned estero.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Center noted that up to 300,000 kilograms of garbage materials are being collected from the river every year coming from about 270 families which they need to relocate.

Some families have volunteered to leave the place but ended up returning because it is closer to their sources of livelihood.

Some of them travel on a weekly basis.

“Walang hanap-buhay doon sa Cavite (There’s no employment in Cavite),” said Ester Galarosa whose family has been relocated in Cavite.

She said she returns to Manila to vend.

“Bumabalik talaga kami para naman kahit paano makaraos man lang sa pagkain namin araw-araw (We return (to the city) to support our needs, so we could look for food to eat),” explained Fredo Peñano, also relocated in Cavite.

The MMDA assured that they regularly do de-clogging operations in different parts of Metro Manila in order to fast track the pumping of floodwater and prevent inconveniences. – (with details from Harlene Delgado)

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Group urges Gov’t to limit water usage in pools, other businesses amid supply woes

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

Photo by Nelly Aran from Pexels

MANILA, Philippines – A labor group on Saturday (June 22) called on the national government to intervene in the worsening water supply issues in Metro Manila due to the rapidly dropping water level at Angat Dam.

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) suggested for the government to limit the usage of water-intensive facilities, such as swimming pools and other businesses until the water at Angat dam stabilizes.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) on Saturday reported that Angat Dam’s water level dropped to 159.78 meters.

“Because water is a basic requirement for the 13 million Metro Manila residents, it must be given priority over the profit margin of businesses,” the group said in a statement.

“To address the intermittent water supply required to households of Metro Manila, government must intercede to limit the water usage of water-intensive facilities and businesses such as golf courses, swimming pools and water fountains,” it added.

The group estimated there are about 15 golf courses in areas covered by both water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, including publicly-owned Veterans and Camp Aguinaldo golf courses in Quezon City and the Army and Navy golf clubs in Fort Bonifacio.

There are also over 10,000 swimming pools all over the metropolis, including water parks, swimming resorts, club houses, indoor pools of condominiums and private pools in posh subdivisions.

“Why should the people stand in line for water rations on a daily basis when the elite consume so much water for their luxuries? Why are the poor again the first to sacrifice during a water crisis when they did not benefit when both Maynilad and Manila Water were brimming with profit,” said BMP leader Leody De Guzman in a statement.

The BMP also called for the suspension of building permits for new businesses which require huge amounts of water until Angat dam water level stabilizes.

The group also called on the government, particularly the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to study the deployment of more radical contingency measures to address the worsening water supply in Metro Manila as its public appeal for water conservation is not enough.

The BMP is also pushing for the reversal of the policy of water privatization that resulted into the concession of the operations of the Metropolitan Wateworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS).

The group claims the privatization of Metro Manila’s water supply did not improve services and sustain the needs of Metro Manila residents.

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NWRB: Angat Dam to hit critical level on Saturday

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The water elevation at Angat Dam is expected to breach the critical level of 160 meters on Saturday, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said Friday.

Based on the monitoring of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), as of 6 a.m., the water level at Angat dam is at 160.28 meters down from Thursday’s 160.73 meters.

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said they expect the water level at Angat dam to reach the critical mark by Friday night or Saturday morning.

If the level drops below 160 meters, David said, this would mean further reduction of water allocation from the current 40 cubic meters per second (cms).

The NWRB earlier said that if the critical level is reached, the allocation for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) will be adjusted again to give way to the shutting down of the auxiliary unit.

READ: NWRB set to reduce allocation to water concessionaires

At least 36 cms will be allocated for the MWSS until the dam further declines to 150 meters if there is no significant inflow in the coming days.

This is to lessen the effect of limited water supply from the reservoir until the rainfall replenishes the Angat Watershed.

The agency said that based on the report of the state weather bureau Pagasa, significant rainfall will hit the Angat Dam in July.

“Base po sa latest projection ng PAGASA, ngayong July magkakaroon po ng nga significant rainfall sa Angat Watershed,” David said.

“But we are hoping that in July darating po ng mas maaga ‘yan para po one: makapabalik na, makapag-recharge ‘yung tubig sa Angat Dam at mag-increase na yung level,” he added.

The NWRB earlier estimated that rainfall from at least two to three tropical cyclones are needed to completely fill up the dam. (with details from Joan Nano)

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