MANILA – Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) officers were fielded on the 23-kilometer EDSA today, with the goal of easing traffic congestion in one of Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino noted that it would not be easy for the PNP-HPG to oversee EDSA, especially its six major choke points – Balintawak, Cubao, Guadalupe, Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas Avenue and Taft Avenue.
Years ago, there were only about 120,000 vehicles per lane per hour on EDSA. But with the increase of vehicle sales and number of residents in the metropolis, there has already been over 145,000 vehicle load on the highway.
With the worsening traffic condition taking a daily economic loss estimated at 2.4 billion from the country, the national government and departments involved in traffic management have been looking for solutions to the problem.
Aside from deploying more men as traffic marshals on EDSA, the government also planned for road engineering, rerouting of provincial buses and clearing of obstructions and illegal vending activities on the highway.
The administration asked motorists and commuters to do their part and observe traffic rules.
“We are asking motorists for their full cooperation in observing discipline on the road and to follow traffic laws,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said.
Should there be unruly traffic violators on EDSA, the PNP-HPG might resolve to use force, especially during ‘extreme scenarios’ where violators even assault traffic enforcers.
“Noong nakaraan, meron pang mga nasasaktang mga traffic enforcers, hindi ba ‘yung binubundol pa sila o pinagbubuhatan ng kamay,” Coloma said.
(Before, there have been injured traffic enforcers, rammed and hit.)
“Siguro iyon ang tinutukoy na in extreme cases dahil sila naman ay awtorisado na gumamit ng pwersa kung kinakailangan pero gumagamit pa rin sila ng katwiran sa kanilang pagganap sa tungkulin,” he added.
(Maybe those can be referred to as extreme cases [where] they are authorized to use force when needed but they still draw on reasoning first while fulfilling their duties.)
Last week, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III assigned the HPG as the lead traffic law enforcement agency on EDSA. They will be assisted by the MMDA, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).