MMDA to probe shuttle bus driver over bus lane violation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020   •   366

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)

MMDA suspends work from July 9-10 after 4 workers contract COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim on Tuesday announced that work at the agency’s headquarters will be suspended from Thursday, July 9 to Friday, July to give way to the complete sanitation and disinfection of all its offices and adjacent premises.

This is after four MMDA personnel tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) when they underwent mass rapid testing and confirmatory swab test.

“Upon the recommendation of the MMDA COVID-19 Committee, we have decided to suspend the operations at all our offices for sanitation and disinfection to protect not only our personnel but also the transacting public against the virus,” Lim said in a statement.

All personnel will be allowed to go home at 2 p.m. on Wednesday as their workplaces will undergo sanitation and disinfection procedures until Sunday, July 12.

Lim said that no employee shall be allowed to enter any office during the sanitation and disinfection period.

The MMDA chief assured that the offices of those who tested positive have already been placed on lockdown and sanitized. Contact tracing has also been conducted and people who had close contact with them were ordered to strictly comply with the 14-day quarantine period and were subjected to swab tests.

“We assure the public that our offices will resume operations as soon as we have completed the sanitation and disinfection of our all offices by Monday,” Lim said.

Others employees who tested positive in the rapid test were made to undergo swab test and quarantine, according to protocol.

The MMDA has its own isolation facility to accommodate employees exposed to persons with COVID-19, tested positive on rapid test, and for those awaiting swab test results.

The 800-square meter isolation facility, located at the MMDA’s parking area, has two sections – one for suspect and probable cases.

Each section of the isolation facility has a 24-bed capacity equipped with shower rooms, comfort rooms and lavatories. The rooms are fully-air conditioned, with WI-FI connection and are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Free meals are also provided.

The MMDA’s Medical Clinic is also closely monitoring and providing guidance and assistance to employees.

Meanwhile, the MMDA said it has put in place protocols for visitors entering the building to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The agency’s guidelines state that all visitors with official business with the agency shall initially stay in the reception area for verification if the visitor will be allowed to go to the concerned office.

Strictly no personal visits are allowed for the meantime given the high risk of COVID-19 transmission at this period.

Moreover, delivery personnel shall not be allowed to go straight to the office or area of the ordering or recipient entity. All deliveries shall be transacted only at the reception lobby.

Likewise, visitors need to fill-up health declaration form with contact details for contact tracing purpose. “This pandemic is a difficult time for all of us and we must do everything we can to protect our personnel and visitors,” Lim said.

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

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