MMDA mulls over ‘no weekday sales’ in malls this holiday season

Marje Pelayo   •   October 3, 2019   •   353

Vendors rest at a market in Manila, Philippines, 22 December 2018. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINOV

MANILA, Philippines – The holiday season is fast approaching so expect heavier traffic situations on major thoroughfares in Metro Manila particularly in EDSA.

In anticipation of the heavy traffic flows, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is contemplating on banning weekday sales in malls.

According to MMDA Assistant General Manager for Planning Ret. Gen. Jose Ocampo, they are keen on imposing “weekend only” schedule for mall-wide sales to minimize the volume of vehicles and shopper-commuters especially during rush hours.

“It (mall sales) will add to the congestion on weekdays,” Ocampo said.

“But on weekends, of course, wala tayong pasok sa opisina and other place of work, pwede sila sa mall (But on weekends, of course, since there is no work in offices and in other place of work, they may go to the mall,)” he added.

Ocampo said there are a total of 34 malls across Metro Manila, 17 of which are located along EDSA.

The MMDA also plans to reimpose the holiday scheme they applied in 2018 which set the start of mall hours at 11:00 a.m.

Stakeholders as well as mall operators are set to meet with the MMDA to discuss and finalize the holiday traffic scheme for this year.

Once approved, the said traffic plan will be in effect starting this November until January 2020. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

Metro Manila malls to suspend ops during quarantine period

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mall operators in Metro Manila have announced the suspension of operations during the 30-day quarantine period.

In separate advisories, Ayala Malls, SM supermalls, Greenhills Shopping Center and Robinsons malls said they will temporarily close their malls starting Monday, March 16 until further notice.

They did, however, said that select stores such as supermarkets, hardware stores and pharmacies will remain open to provide basic services.

In its advisory, Ayala Malls said the closure is in compliance with the government’s directives on general community quarantine, and in the interest of public health and safety.

“However, in order to continue servicing the community, establishments offering basic services shall be kept open, such as supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, banks, and other essentials,” the advisory read.

Greenhills Shopping Center also announced it will stop operations for one month except for stores offering medical services, restaurants with food deliveries and other essential stores.

“We hope for everyone’s understanding as we are one with the public in containing the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

Robinsons Metro East will also suspend operations except for stores offering essential services.

SM Supermalls also announced in its Facebook page that its Metro Manila malls will be closed starting March 16 until further notice “for everyone’s safety and in support of the government’s efforts versus COVID-19.”

However, key establishments such as banks, drug stores, and supermarkets would remain open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Sunday.

Metro Manila is currently under a 30-day community quarantine, which will last until April 14.

The government has issued guidelines for this period which includes restrictions on mass gatherings and travel to and from Metro Manila. Social distancing is also being implemented in public transportation as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

PNP-ACG probes suspicious online greetings

Maris Federez   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) is investigating the alleged dubious online greetings on social media.

This, after the online group, Cyber Security Philippines-CERT warned about online links containing holiday greetings that are allegedly being used by hackers to gather personal information of netizens.

The group said this modus used by criminal elements brings the user to another site when the online greeting link is clicked.

Most of these links ask for personal data of the users for them to be able to enter the site.

The PNP-ACG said this kind of scam prevails during the holiday season.

“Tini-take advantage ng mga masasamang loob ‘yung pagkakataon na mayroong pera, bonus ‘yung ating mga kababayan. At syempre, ‘yung ating mga salary, pumapasok na automated na,” said PCpt. Jeck Robin Gammad, PNP-ACG Public Information Office chief.

Authorities advise the netizens not to open any suspicious-looking websites, especially those that ask for personal information.

“Iniimbestigahan pa natin dahil hindi tayo sigurado kung ito ba’y makasasama o makabubuti sa atin personally at sa ating mga personal information, huwag na lang muna natin siyang i-click,” Gammad added.

In case, the link is accidentally clicked and opened, the authorities advise to change the password of all social media accounts, especially online banking account applications; reset web browers; and update the anti-virus and anti-malware software in the computer and smartphones. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

Holiday visitors leave truckloads of trash at Luneta Park

Robie de Guzman   •   December 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Around eight truckloads of trash were collected at Rizal (Luneta) Park on Wednesday after thousands of individuals visited the facility to bond with family and friends during the holiday season.

The National Parks Development Committee estimated that at least 65,000 people trooped to Rizal Park on December 24.

Authorities said most of the trash collected were single-use plastics, bottles, boxes and left over food that were thrown on the park grounds despite the garbage bins placed around the facility.

Earlier in the day, street sweepers were seen cleaning the park grounds.

The park development committee noted the reduced number of visitors on December 25 due to the inclement weather.

However, they expect this to increase in the coming hours due to a free concert to be held in the open air auditorium on Wednesday night. –RRD (from the report of Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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