Francis Tolentino

MMDA prepares to enforce 'number coding' on buses

MMDA prepares to enforce ‘number coding’ on buses
By Mike Frialde
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will deploy around 1,800 traffic enforcers to ensure the smooth implementation of the “number coding” scheme on public utility buses along EDSA and along the metro’s major thoroughfares starting this Monday.

As part of the preparations, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino yesterday ordered the cancellation of leaves and day-offs of all of the agency’s traffic personnel.

“It’s all systems go on Monday. We will be issuing traffic violation tickets to offenders as we have informed the bus operators regarding the re-implementation of the scheme beforehand and they all agreed so there will be no excuse and nobody will be spared,” Tolentino said in a statement.

Tolentino said signs have been installed along the major thoroughfares and along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) advising bus drivers that the number coding or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) for PUBs will be in effect starting Nov. 15.

According to the MMDA, around 13,000 PUBs, provincial and city are covered by the scheme. More than 1,000 of these vehicles will be affected by the UVVRP scheme daily. Unlike for private vehicles, there are no “window hours” between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for PUBs during their respective “number coding” days.

Meanwhile, Tolentino said the Philippine National Police has agreed to lend some of its buses to the MMDA to complement the agency’s own five buses in ferrying passengers of buses caught violating the UVVRP.

The PNP and MMDA buses, according to Tolentino, will transport the passengers from the exits of the NLEX and SLEX to the respective terminals of the apprehended buses.

Tolentino said buses caught violating the number coding will be impounded at the agency’s holding area along White Plains Avenue in Quezon City. The buses will only be released after 7 p.m.

Tolentino said he has received reports that several provincial bus firms have threatened to defy the MMDA, but he said they will just “detain their drivers and conductors and hold their buses until 7 (p.m.).”

PUBs were originally covered by UVVRP but bus operators sought and secured an exemption from Malacañang on 2004.

Under the number coding scheme, city and provincial buses whose license plate numbers end in 1 and 2 are banned from using EDSA and major roads on Mondays; 3 and 4 (Tuesdays); 5 and 6 (Wednesdays); 7 and 8 (Thursdays) and 9 and 0 (Fridays).

MMDA to put up 'bayanihan zones' vs flooding

MMDA to put up ‘bayanihan zones’ vs flooding
By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will soon establish so-called “flood control bayanihan zones” in flood-prone areas in the metropolis.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said the these bayanihan Zones, which seek the involvement of the community in flood control programs, show the public-private partnership to alleviate the adverse effects of flooding in Metro Manila during the rainy season.

“Within the next few weeks, we will launch these bayanihan Zones that will serve as our active partner in all our flood control activities. With the close cooperation of the community, we believe that our efforts to find solutions to our flooding problem will come a long way,” Tolentino said.

Each bayanihan Zone will be composed of key representatives from the different stakeholders in the community such as civic and business organizations, religious groups, non-government organizations and people’s organizations, among others.

Tolentino said the development of the bayanihan Zones is aimed at establishing a broad-based commitment and involvement by the community in a particular flood-prone area.

With bayanihan zones in place, the problem on coordination and response time during calamities and any other emergencies will be effectively addressed, he added.

Each bayanihan zone will be responsible for organizing their community for preparedness prior to and during flooding incidents, and will maintain close contact with the MMDA, the local government units, and other government agencies.

Serving as the MMDA’s frontline unit, members of the bayanihan zone are also expected to develop flood protocol and other guidelines for the residents of the community such as alert mechanisms, flood-mitigation measures, and evacuation measures.

“Each bayanihan zone will also be responsible in conducting information campaign and advocacy outreach program to eradicate causes of flooding in their jurisdiction,” Tolentino said.