MMDA to inspect school perimeters for e-cigarettes, tobacco products

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2019   •   1583

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this March 5, 2013 file illustration picture taken in Paris. CREDIT: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/FILES

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that it will check the 100-meter perimeter of public and private schools for establishments that sell, advertise and promote e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The MMDA said violators will receive verbal warnings if they are found smoking within the said distance from the schools.

The initiative is part of the agency’s preparations for the opening of the school year 2019 to 2020 in June.

It also aims to raise awareness on tobacco control and promoting a safer and healthier environment.

“Health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control are among the seven mandates of the MMDA. We are tasked to promote and safeguard the health and sanitation of Metropolitan Manila especially the youth who will become our future leaders,” MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said in a statement released on Tuesday.

A massive information drive will also be conducted by distributing leaflets to store owners, students, teachers, and public utility vehicle drivers containing the provisions of the law on access restriction and effects of smoking and cigarette smoke and conduct orientation on the dangers of smoking to high school students in public secondary schools.

“Our health environmental officers will be posting signage in public facilities to supplement these efforts,” Lim said.

The MMDA is also looking to enhance pedestrian lanes near the schools to protect crossing children and to increase visibility to drivers. /rrd 

MMDA eyes closure of 15 U-turn slots on EDSA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is planning to close a total of 15 U-Turn slots on EDSA.

The plan aims to facilitate the construction of mass transport facilities in an effort to speed up traffic flow of buses on Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare.

“We want to lessen the travel time. Kung ma-achieve natin iyan by minimizing or closing the U-turn slots on this bus way ay malaking impact iyan. Mas mabilis,” said MMDA EDSA Traffic Chief Edison Nebrija.

U-Turn slots that might be closed include: 

CALOOCAN CITY

  • De Jesus
  • Gen. Tinio
  • Malvar
  • Biglang Awa

QUEZON CITY

  • Balintawak
  • Kaingin 
  • Landers 
  • Dario Brigde
  • Walter Mart
  • Quezon City Academy
  • Trinoma
  • Timog
  • Santolan

PASAY CITY

  • EDSA-Taft
  • Heritage Hotel

Nebrija added that the project will exclusively assign the innermost lanes of EDSA for public utility buses in order to decongest traffic.

Though MMDA expects to receive mounting complaints from commuters and operators, Nebrija said the project’s purpose is ultimately to provide convenience to the greater public. 

“Well maraming magrereklamo diyan. Baka may mag-file na naman ng TRO (Well, many will complain. Maybe another TRO will be filed),” he said.

Nonetheless, the MMDA is still open to suggestions and ideas on how improve EDSA’s busway system. MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

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MRT-3 to operate at reduced capacity as COVID-19 cases in depot rise to 127

Maris Federez   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The MRT management will limit the number of trains in operation starting July 6.

This after a number of its personnel tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the total of positive cases to 127, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) advisory said.

Initial report said the 127 cases consist of 124 Sumitomo Depot personnel and 3 MRT-3 Depot personnel who will be placed under mandatory quarantine and medication.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said that with the guidance of the IATF-EID and upon the advice of Sumitomo-MHI, MRT-3 will be able to continue operations, with the possibility of reducing capacity or with fewer trains.

“Sumitomo requested to discuss on a day-by-day basis the level of operations that they can sustain as results of the mass swab testing continue to be released. In the meantime, Sumitomo advised that they are able to continue with operations to service MRT-3’s tens of thousands of passengers, although at a reduced level,” said Usec Batan.

“While we try to do our best to keep the same maintenance performance through this week, we would like to discuss with DOTr MRT3 office day by day, how much maintenance level we would be able to keep, in view of the number of COVID-19 infected people,” said Masanori Honda of Sumitomo.

The advisory also said that “to augment MRT-3’s further reduced capacity due to the quarantine of some of its depot personnel, DOTr will be boosting its Bus Augmentation Program and EDSA Busway service, in coordination with the DOTr Road Sector, LTFRB, and MMDA.”

“Per guidance of the IATF-EID, additional measures and precautions will be taken during MRT-3’s reduced operations, including requiring full PPE for stations and depot personnel, limiting movement of depot personnel to their immediate areas of responsibility, increased disinfection activities, and heightened monitoring and screening of symptoms among all personnel,” the advisory further read.

Meanwhile, MRT reminds the public that it will suspend operation on July 4 and 5 to give way to their rail replacement activities. —(with details from Joan Nano) /mbmf

MMDA to probe shuttle bus driver over bus lane violation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will investigate the shuttle bus driver who forcefully entered the bus lane route.

As seen in the CCTV footage, the military escorts accompanying the bus driver took out the concrete barriers in order for the shuttle bus to enter the bus lane.

“Wala naman tayong entry point doon and yet pinilit niyang pumasok. Ginamit pa niya iyong military escorts niya na i-move ang barrier para magkasya siya (We don’t have an entry point there and yet he still attempted to enter. He even had his military escorts to move the barriers for his shuttle bus to fit and get through),” according to MMDA EDSA Traffic Chief Edison ‘Bong’ Nebrija.

The MMDA already issued a ticket for the said violation but Nebrija said they want to conduct further investigation to determine if the shuttle bus driver received any instructions that they can ply through the bus lane.

“Hindi ko alam kung kaninong instruction nila nakuha iyan na pwede sila dyan sa bus way natin. Hindi nga pwede (I don’t know where they got that instruction that they can enter the busway. They are not allowed),” he said.

The MMDA reiterated that bus lanes are only reserved for city buses, and other vehicles are not allowed.

Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force of the National Capital Region will investigate the military escort that moved the concrete barriers. —AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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