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DECEMBER 20, 2011

MMDA Leads Metro Rescue Teams to Mindanao

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino isa sending a 2-ton water purifier and 19-man contingent to Iligan City to assist the victims of flooding wrought by Tropical Storm Sendong.

Scheduled to leave by Philippine Navy boat today (December 20), the rescue team will spend their Christmas in Iligan, returning on December 28.

Coming from the MMDA's Road Emergency Group, the team consists of trained rescue staff, medical services assistants, and two mechanics. They will also bring a multi-cab vehicle, medical kits, basic tools and rescue kits, and implements.

"These personnel are experienced. They were also at Calumpit and Hagonoy after typhoons Quiel and Pedring," said Tolentino. "One of the most urgent needs of the distressed areas is clean, potable water. We will address that need," he added.

Tolentino said the equipment and personnel will be on the next available boat to Iligan City. The MMDA team will be joined by rescue teams sent by the local governments of Pasig and Makati. The two cities will send rescue dogs with their teams.

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DECEMBER 20, 2011

MMDA Releases List of Top Colorum/Out-of-Line PUB Violators

Summary of COLORUM Violators for Public Utility Buses - City Operators (January to November 2011)

NO COMPANY NAME TOTAL #
1 ADMIRAL TRANSPORT INC 11
2 VIL 5000 INC 10
3 DON MARIANO TRANSIT CORP 9
4 JFT LINER 6
5 LUZON BUS INC 5
6 PHILIPPINE CORINTHIAN LINER 5
7 NOVA 4
8 SANTRANS 4
9 JELL TRANSPORT 3
10 MANNROSE 3
11 VOYAGER EXPRESS LINER 3
12 ELENA BUS 2
13 HM TRANSPORT INC 2
14 LIPPAD TRANS 2
15 SAINT ROSE 2
16 CEM 1
17 CORIMBA BUS CO 1
18 DIVINE GRACE TRANS 1
19 ELENA LINER 1
20 EVERLASTING TRANS 1
21 FERMINA 1
22 JAYROSS 1
23 JRMS 1
24 MANTC 1
25 MEGABUS LINE 1
26 MGP 1
27 NEWMAN GOLD LINER 1
28 ROVAL TRANS CORP 1
29 SAFEWAY TRANS 1
30 V-1 BUS LINE 1
31 VALISNO 1
TOTAL 87

Summary of COLORUM Violators for Public Utility Buses - Provincial Operators (January to November 2011)

NO COMPANY NAME TOTAL #
1 GENESIS 14
2 FIVE STAR LINES 11
3 JAC LINER 9
4 LUCENA LINES 9
5 VICTORY LINER INC 6
6 DARICYN TRANS 4
7 FIRST NORTH LUZON 4
8 SOLID NORTH 4
9 EAGLE STAR TRANS 4
10 SOLID STAR TRANS 4
11 PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS 3
12 BACHELOR EXPRESS 2
13 DALIN LINER 2
14 NORTH STAR TRANS 2
15 PAMBUSCO 2
16 RC MOTORS INC 2
17 RURAL TRANSIT 2
18 SAULOG TRANS 2
19 ALPS 1
20 BATANGAS STAR EXPRESS 1
21 BOLANOS 1
22 EDMUND LINES 1
23 ES TRANSPORT 1
24 EXECUTIVE CARRIER SERVICE 1
25 FLORIDA BUS 1
26 JVH TRANS 1
27 KL LINER 1
28 PARTAS 1
29 PENAFRANCIA TOURS 1
30 PINTAKASI 1
31 SIERRA MADRE CORP 1
32 SOUTH STAR 1
TOTAL 100

Summary of OUT-OF-LINE Violators for Public Utility Buses - City Operators (January to November 2011)

NO. COMPANY NAME TOTAL #
1 JAYROSS LUCKY SEVEN TOURS 22
2 SANTRANS CORP INC 16
3 FERMINA EXPRESS CORP 6
4 KING SAM EXPRESS INC 5
5 LIPPAD TRANS 5
6 VALISNO EXPRESS LINER 5
7 CHER TRANS 4
8 GASAT EXPRESS TRANSPORT 4
9 JFT LINER 4
10 JOANNA JESH TRANSPORT 4
11 MALANDAY METRO LINK BUS 3
12 NOVA BUS TRANSPORT 3
13 BOVJEN TRANSPORT 2
14 CITY BUS 2
15 ERJOHN & ALMARK TRANSIT 2
16 EVERLASTING TRANS 2
17 JASPER JEAN 2
18 KELY 2
19 NAIA METRO LINK BUS 2
20 PHIL CORINTHIAN LINER 2
21 PHILTRANCO SERV ENT 2
22 RRCG TRANSPORT 2
23 AUTOBUS TRANSPORT 1
24 BACLARAN METRO LINK 1
25 BATMAN STAR EXPRESS 1
26 BCB BUS TRANSPORT 1
27 CLARO 1
28 D COMMP 1
29 DARJ TRANS 1
30 DELA ROSA TRANS 1
31 GOLDEN CITY TOURS 1
32 GOLDTRANS TOUR 1
33 GREENLINE EXPRESS 1
34 IGAN BUS 1
35 JACKPERLYN 1
36 JMK LINER CORPORATION 1
37 KELLEN TRANS 1
38 MAFEL 1
39 MANNROSE 1
40 MERCORP TRANSPORT 1
41 MGP TRANS 1
42 NAVOTAS METROLINK 1
43 NEWMAN GOLD LINER 1
44 NS TRANS 1
45 REINALYN BUS LINE CORP. 1
46 ROSA BUS 1
47 ROVAL TRANS 1
48 ROYAL COUPLE 1
49 SOUTHERN UNION 1
50 ST MARTIN 1
TOTAL 129

Summary of OUT-OF-LINE Violators for Public Utility Buses - Provincial Operators (January to November 2011)

NO COMPANY NAME TOTAL #
1 GENESIS 15
2 LUCENA 14
3 EAGLE STAR 13
4 JAC LINER 13
5 VICTORY LINER 13
6 FIVE STAR 12
7 SILVER STAR SHUTTLE & TOURS 10
8 PHILTRANCO ENT INC 9
9 BATAAN TRANSIT 7
10 DEL MONTE MOTOR WORKS INC 7
11 PANGASINAN FICE STAR BUS CO INC 7
12 ULTRA BUS 7
13 FLORIDA 6
14 RJ EXPRESS 6
15 RORO BUS TRANS SERVICE INC 6
16 DAGUPAN BUS 5
17 DIMPLE STAR 5
18 SAULOG TRANSIT 5
19 SOLID NORTH 5
20 UNITED LAND TRANSPORT BUS INC 5
21 ES TRANS INC 4
22 ELAVIL TOURS 3
23 MEGA BUS 3
24 PARTAS TRANS 3
25 SIERRA MADRE TRANS CO INC 3
26 ALPS 2
27 BALIWAG 2
28 C/O AB MANDIGMA 2
29 C/O CERES 052 2
30 DELA ROSA LINER 2
31 DLTB CO 2
32 EVERLASTING BUS 2
33 FIRST NORTH LUZON 2
34 GV FLORIDA 2
35 INTER BATANGAS BUS 2
36 JONCY 2
37 N DELA ROSA LINER 2
38 SAINTROSE TRANS 2
39 BLTB CO 1
40 C/O BELLEZA BUS LINE 1
41 C/O TWIN HEARTS 1
42 C/O ULTRA BUS 08063 1
43 CERES TRANSPORT INC 1
44 GREEN STAR 1
45 HM TRANS 1
46 NORTH STAR 1
47 PHIL RABBIT BUS 1
48 UNIVERSAL GUIDING STAR 1
49 VIRON TRANSIT 1
TOTAL 223

Summary of UNREGISTERED SUBS/REPLACEMENT ENGINE Violators for Public Utility Buses - City Operators (January to November 2011)

NO COMPANY NAME TOTAL #
1 SANTRANS INC 9
2 FERMINA EXPRESS 3
3 KINGSAM EXPRESS 3
4 MEGA BUS LINES CORP 3
5 PASCUAL LINER 3
6 ULTRA BUS 3
7 RRCG TRANSPORT SYSTEM CO. INC 2
8 SAINT ROSE 2
9 VALISNO EXPRESS 2
10 BAVES G 1
11 BCB TRANS 1
12 CLARO TRANS 1
13 DE LEON EXPRESS 1
14 DELA ROSA 1
15 JASPER 1
16 JELL TRANS 1
17 JRMS TRANSPORT 1
18 LIPPAD TRANS 1
TOTAL 39

Summary of UNREGISTERED SUBS/REPLACEMENT ENGINE Violators for Public Utility Buses - Provincial Operators (January to November 2011)

NO COMPANY NAME TOTAL #
1 BALIWAG TRANS INC 47
2 NORTH STAR TRANS 12
3 RJ EXPRESS INC 12
4 CELY ROSA EXPRESS 8
5 JAM LINER TRANSIT 8
6 SIERRA MADRE TRANS INC 7
7 EPJ TRANSIT 6
8 ELAVIL TOURS 5
9 ES TRANSPORT 4
10 FLORIDA TRANSPORT INC 4
11 HM TRANSPORT 4
12 PHIL RABBIT BUS LINE INC 4
13 ALPS 3
14 DE LEON EXPRESS 3
15 SOLID STAR 3
16 VICTORY LINER 3
17 DAGUPAN BUS LINE 2
18 FARINAS TRANS 2
19 FIRST NORTH LUZON BUS 2
20 PHILTRANCO BUS CO 2
21 CALAMBA MEGATRANS 1
22 DALIN LINER 1
23 FERMINA EXPRESS 1
24 FIVE STAR 1
25 GENESIS BUS TRANSPORT 1
26 GOLDLINE TRANS 1
27 JVH TRANSPORTATION 1
28 KELLY TRANS 1
29 LUCENA LINER 1
30 PARTAS TRANSPORT CO INC. 1
31 PENAFRANCIA TOURS 1
32 RAYMOND TRANS 1
33 SILVER STAR 1
34 TWIN HEARTS TRANSPORT CORP 1
TOTAL 155

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DECEMBER 6, 2011

MMDA Opens 33 New Christmas Lanes

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today opened additional 48 kilometers of 33 new alternate routes, known more popularly as the MMDA Christmas lanes, to alleviate traffic congestion in major thoroughfares this holiday season.

The new routes augment last year's 12 Christmas Lanes that were only 157 kilometers long. This year, Metro Manila vehicle users can use 45 Christmas Lanes which total 205 kilometers.

Among the new Christmas Lanes are routes to popular shopping destinations Divisoria, Baclaran, Greenhills and Carriedo. To decongest traffic at the Araneta Avenue-Quezon Boulevard underpass construction site, the Del Monte - West Riverside intersection shall be closed for a smooth, continuous traffic flow.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will lead a motorcade to launch the Christmas Lanes at 6 am tomorrow (December 7). It will start at the corner of EDSA and Oliveros, Quezon City, traversing the Christmas Lanes going to Tutuban, Divisoria in Manila.

Tolentino said the new Christmas lane routes were cleared to free up road space for motorists. Traffic directional signs are also being put up along the new routes.

"These new Christmas Lanes are now open and we are calling on our private motorists to use these alternate roads. This is for their own convenience," the MMDA chief said.

To cover the subject areas, Tolentino said the new Christmas Lanes have been divided into four groups, with each group of traffic enforcers given a particular assigned area to assist motorists and ensure unimpeded traffic flow.

The Christmas lanes/Mabuhay lanes were introduced by the MMDA last year as alternate routes for Edsa.

The MMDA's Traffic Discipline Office said that after the opening of the Christmas Lanes last year, travel speed along the 24-kilometer long Edsa increased by more than 14 percent, or from 27.98 kilometers per hour (kph) to 32.07 kph.

The old Christmas lanes start at both north and south entry points of Edsa. For northbound motorists going south, they may use McArthur Highway, right turn to Samson Road, C-4/Letre, R-10, A. Bonifacio, Roxas Boulevard to destination.

For motorists coming from the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), they can exit at various points, most importantly at the newly constructed Mindanao Avenue access ramp. From south to north, the Christmas lanes start at Coastal Road and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The new Christmas Lanes are the following:

For Private Vehicles from North to South:

From McArthur Highway

  • Right turn to Samson Road, C-4/Letre, R-10, A. Bonifacio, Roxas Blvd., to destination.

From North Luzon Expressway:
  • Exit at Mindanao Avenue Access Ramp, right at Mindanao Ave., left at Congressional, right at Tandang Sora crossing Commonwealth flyover, Katipunan Avenue, C-5, to destination.

  • Exit at Mindanao Ave., Access Ramp, right at Mindanao Ave., left at North Avenue, QMC, right at Kalayaan, left at Kamias rd. right at Anonas, left at Aurora Blvd., right at Katipunan Avenue, C-5, to destination.

  • Exit at Mindanao Ave., Access Ramp, right at Mindanao Ave., left at North Avenue, QMC, right at Kalayaan, left at Kamias rd. right at Anonas, left at Chico St., straight to Xavierville, right at C-5, to destination.

  • Straight at A. Bonifacio Ave, left at C-3, right at Banawe, left at E. Rodriguez, right at Araneta Ave., right at Aurora Blvd., right at Magsaysay Blvd., left at Nagtahan - P. Quirino Ave., left at South Super Highway to destination.

  • Straight at A. Bonifacio Ave, take Mayon Ave. to Welcome Rotunda, then to destination.

  • Straight at A. Bonifacio, take Mayon Ave., right at Dapitan St. or P. Florentino, left at A. Maceda, right at F. Fajardo, left at V.G. Cruz, right at Lardizabal, left at Dela Fuente, right at R. Magsaysay Blvd., Nagtahan to P. Quirino, left at South Super Highway to destination.

From Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA):
  • Turn right at West Ave., right at Quezon Ave., U-turn near Magbanua, right at Timog, right at T. Morato, right at E. Rodriguez, left at Gilmore, right at N. Domingo, left at Pinaglabanan, right at P. Guevarra, left at L. Mencias, right at Shaw Blvd., left at Nueve de Pebrero, Maysilo, Francisco, Mandaluyong Makati Bridge to destination.

  • Turn right at West Ave., right at Quezon Ave., U-turn near Magbanua, right Sct. Reyes, take Umbel Bridge, left at Dona Rodriguez, right at N. Domingo, left at Pinaglabanan, right at P. Guevarra, left at L. Mencias, right at Shaw Blvd., left at Nueve de Pebrero, Maysilo, Francisco, Mandaluyong Makati Bridge to destination.

  • Turn right at West Ave., right to Del Monte Ave., left at Sto. Domingo or Biak na Bato, right at Amoranto, left at Banawe or D. Tuazon, right at Maria Clara or Dapitan to destination.

  • Turn right at Mo. Ignacia, left at Timog Ave., right at T. Morato, right at E. Rodriguez, left at Gilmore, right at N. Domingo, left at Pinaglabanan, right at P. Guevarra, right at Shaw Blvd., left at Nueve de Pebrero, Maysilo, Francisco, Mandaluyong Makati Bridge to destination.

  • Turn right at Kamuning left at T. Morato, right at E. Rodriguez, left at Gilmore, right at N. Domingo, left at Pinaglabanan, right at P. Guevarra, right at Shaw Blvd., left at Nueve de Pebrero, Maysilo, Francisco, Mandaluyong Makati Bridge to destination.

  • Turn right at Shaw Blvd. left at Nueve de Pebrero, Maysilo, Francisco, Mandaluyong Makati Bridge to destination.

From Pasig Rosario to South Super Highway:
  • From Ortigas Ave. ext., take U-turn at Rosario Bridge, right at Dr. Sixto Antonio Ave., right at Vargas bridge to C-5 to destination.

  • From Ortigas Ave. ext., take U-turn at Rosario Bridge, right at Dr. Sixto Antonio Ave., right at Vargas bridge to Pasig Blvd., left at Shaw Blvd., left at Pioneer, straight to EDSA - Boni bridge, right at Barangka drive, then take Barangka - Estrella bridge to Makati area to destination.

  • From Ortigas Ave. ext., take U-turn at Rosario Bridge, right at C. Raymundo, Bagong Ilog to C-5 to destination.

From Quezon City to Makati:
  • Take N. Domingo, left to Blumentritt - Kalentong, left at Manalo St., left at Manalo St., right at Mariano St., right at L. Mencias, right at Shaw Blvd., left at Nueve de Pebrero/Martinez, Maysilo, Sgt. Bumatay or San Francisco Mandaluyong Makati Bridge or Barangka Drive Estrella Bridge to destination.

  • From E. Rodriguez, left at Matimyas - Plaza Noli to Fajardo, left at V.G. Cruz, right at Lardizabal, left at Dela Fuente, right at R. Magsaysay Blvd., Nagtahan to P. Quirino, left at South Super Highway to destination.

From Mandaluyong to Makati:
  • From Shaw Blvd., right at Acacia Lane, right at F. Ortigas, left at Boni Ave., Maysilo to destination.



For Private Vehicles from South to North:

From Coastal Road Expressway:
  • Straight at Roxas blvd to R10 right at C4, Samson road to destination.

From South Luzon Expressway:
  • Exit to C-5, Katipunan, Tandang Sora Ave., U-turn at Congressional, right to Mindanao Ave., to destination.

  • From Pres.Osmeña highway, right turn to P. Quirino, Nagtahan, right at Magsaysay Blvd. left at C3 Araneta Ave. right at A. Bonifacio to destination.

  • From Pres. Osmeña Highway, right at P. Quirino to Nagtahan, to A. H. Lacson right at S. H. Loyola, left at M. De la Fuente then right at Piy Margal or Nicanor Roxas to Mayon/D. Tuazon to destination.

  • From Pres. Osmeña Highway, right at P. Quirino to Nagtahan, to A. H. Lacson right at S. H. Loyola , right at V. G. Cruz, left at G. Tuazon straight to Bayani road ,left at Cordillera st., right at E. Rodriguez to destination.

From Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA):
  • Turn left to Pasay Road then turn right to Makati Ave. straight to Makati – Mandaluyong Bridge right at Fancisco, Maysilo to M. Martines Ave., straight to Gomezvill, straight to Hoover to Wilson left at Ortigas Ave./ Granada, right at Aurora Blvd. then left Hemady, right at E. Rodriguez , left at Tomas Morato left at Timog Ave. then right at Quezon Ave to QMC right at Visayas Ave. left at congressional Ave. right at Mindanao Ave. to destination.

  • Turn left to Pasay Road then turn right to Makati Ave. straight to Makati – Mandaluyong Bridge right at Francisco, Maysilo, to M. Martines Ave., straight to Gomezvill, straight to Hoover to Wilson left at Ortigas Ave./ Granada, Hemady, right at E. Rodriguez , left at Tomas Morato right at Kamuning / Kamias to destination.

  • Turn right at Kalayaan Ave, straight to C. P. Garcia Ave (C5) to destination.

  • Take Estrella flyover to Rockwell, straight to barangka Drive – Estrella Bridge to Mandaluyong area to destination.

  • From Makati Area take Makati - Mandaluyong Bridge right at Francisco, Maysilo, Nueve de Pebrero left at Shaw Blvd. to destination.

  • Turn right to Madison, right to Pioneer past EDSA - Boni tunnel, right to Pinatubo, left to Cordillera, left to Arayat, go down Nueve de Pebrero, right to S. Laurel (one-way), left to Shaw Blvd., right to Ideal, left to McColough, right to A. Mabini (one-way), left to Wilson to San Juan area, then to destination.

From P. Guevarra to San Juan Makati:
  • From P. Guevarra turn left to Ortega, turn right to Pilar turn left to Calderon turn right to Lee turn right to S. Laurel, turn left to Shaw, turn right to Old Wack Wack road (one way), turn left at Nueve de Febrero, go straight down Arayat, turn right to Dansalan. Turn left at Boni turn right at Lions Road, turn right at EDSA, turn right to Guadalupe (ilalim) to destination.

From Buendia to San Juan:
  • From Buendia left to N. Garcia, straight to Antipolo right to S. Osmeña, right to P. Gomez right to Zamora, right to Makati – Mandaluyong Bridge, right to Coronado, right to San Francisco, right to circle (Maysilo), right to F. Martinez, straight to Gomezville, straight to Hoover, cross to Wilson to San Juan to destination.

From Araneta Ave.:
  • From Araneta Ave right at Toktokan Street straight to West Riverside then turn right along West Riverside, left at Osmeña street to Roosevelt Ave.


To Divisoria:

From A. H. Lacson Ave:
  • Left at Tayuman Street then left at Dagupan Street to Divisoria.

From R-10:
  • Take C-2 Capulong then right at Dagupan Street to Divisoria.

  • Take Moriones Street then right at Dagupan Street to Divisoria.

  • Take Claro M. Recto Street to Divisoria.

From Caloocan:
  • Take Juan Luna Street to Divisoria.


To Greenhills, San Juan City:

From Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA):
  • Turn right at Banahaw street, right at Makiling, left at Benitez then straight at St. Joseph, left at Ortigas Ave to Greenhills Shopping Center.

  • Turn right at Annapolis, right at Eisenhower then left at Club Filipino to ortigas Ave. to Greenhills Shopping Center.

  • Turn right at Connecticut to Ortigas Ave. to Greenhills Shopping Center.


To Baclaran, Parañaque City:

From Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA):
  • Take EDSA - Tramo flyover then right at Andrews Avenue straight to Airport road, right at Roxas Blvd. take Service road to Redemptorist.

From Manila Area:
  • Take Roxas Blvd. turn right at EDSA take U-turn then right at Roxas Blvd. then take u-turn near Airport road, take Service road to Redemptorist.


To Carriedo, Manila City:

From Manila Area:
  • From Taft Ave., take Ayala Blvd., left at Carlos Palanca (Echague), to Carriedo St.

  • From Padre Burgos, take Jones Bridge, left at Muelle del Blanco National to Plaza Lacson to Carriedo.


(View flyer in full screen)

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NOVEMBER 28, 2011

MMDA to Implement Vehicle Tagging on AUVs on December 12

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today announced the scheduled implementation of the vehicle tagging scheme on all non-metered AUVs, shuttle, and tourist buses starting December 12.

During an inspection conducted today at the terminal in Trinoma Mall being used by members of the 10,000-strong Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators (ACTO) headed by Efren De Luna, Tolentino expressed gratitude for the support shown by the group for the said program. Simultaneous paintings were also done by ACTO members in Parañaque, Manila, and Taguig.

"Our main objective in implementing the tagging scheme is to eradicate the operation of colorum vehicles. ACTO's voluntary compliance to it will definitely boost our campaign as it shows willingness to police their own rank," Tolentino said.

"I am hopeful that other transport groups will follow ACTO's act and have their units painted as early as now to avoid any inconvenience once we start with the full implementation," Tolentino pointed out.

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NOVEMBER 28, 2011

MMDA Chair to Lead Ceremonial Christmas Tree Lighting Today

Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will lead the ceremonial lighting of the agency's Christmas tree, simultaneous with the 17 local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila, this afternoon at the MMDA grounds in Makati City.

A first in the history of MMDA, the ceremony will take place at five o'clock and will be witnessed by agency officials and employees.

"This simple act of cooperation among MMDA and the LGUs will most definitely send a positive message to the public, that we are working hand in hand for the common good of all Metro Manila residents," Tolentino said.

The 17 LGUs, led by the mayors, will also hold the ceremonial lighting of Christmas trees at their respective city halls, as a show of support for the MMDA's programs and projects.

Further, each LGU were given symbolic Christmas lanterns by the MMDA, signifying the Authority's continuous assistance and guidance to the sixteen cities and one municipality of the National Capital Region.

Tolentino said that the activity is part of MMDA's efforts to promote cooperation and unity among the residents of the metropolis.

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NOVEMBER 24, 2011

MMDA Releases App for Android

After the success of its social network accounts, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) recently launched the MMDA application for Android phones and tablets, another innovation that would provide real-time traffic information to the public.

Users can download the application from the Android marketplace by searching for MMDA or going to http://j.mp/MMDAAppA on their Android device.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino encourages the public to use the application, particularly its built-in traffic reporting mechanism aimed to facilitate data gathering from its users.

"The MMDA apps further pave the way for 'mobile bayanihan' and active involvement, as one user's report can benefit everyone. Citizens are now given a chance to be part of the solution through the use of their smartphone" Tolentino said.

The new application follows the MMDA iOS app for Apple users released in September, and which, in two months time, has over 64,000 users.

The MMDA iOS application is the first-ever Philippine government agency mobile application. It enables the public to view Metro Manila's traffic situation in a convenient way anytime, anywhere.

Both versions of the MMDA applications use data from the web-based Metro Manila Traffic Navigator, which contains current traffic conditions along the major thoroughfares such as EDSA, C-5, Roxas Boulevard, Quezon Avenue, Marcos Highway, Commonwealth Avenue, South Luzon Expressway, and España.

Student volunteers from the University of the Philippines Information Technology Training Center developed the MMDA for Android application. Aside from traffic information, the app also contains the agency's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for easy reference of motorists. Users can see the traffic situation either in system, map, or line views.

Data for the Traffic Navigator are gathered through the agency's CCTVs, reports from field constables, and now, through citizens' inputs reported through the MMDA apps.

The Metro Manila Traffic Navigator is a Public-Private Partnership Project of the MMDA and TV5.

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NOVEMBER 24, 2011

MMDA Chairman Meets Award-Winning Inventor of Intelligent Bus Utility System

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino today met with Filipino inventor Elma Arboleras, who presented her international award-winning Intelligent Bus Utility System or iBus System.

Arboleras' iBus System recently garnered in London the British Invention Award for 2011 for "Outstanding Contribution and Application of Innovation for the Public Transport System". She was the only Filipina to participate in the prestigious convention.

The iBus System was invented particularly to address endemic problems in Metro Manila bus transportation such as loading and unloading or overstaying at unauthorized stops, straddling two lanes which causes choke points at major arteries and overspeeding.

The System uses machine-readable tags to digitally identify a vehicle to become part of a database where computers are then used to handle its daily operation. It can detect whether buses are properly positioned at designated stops. If improperly positioned, the System will not allow passengers to disembark or alight. System overrides are allowed for emergencies, but these would be validated by the MMDA Metrobase.

"There are existing digital tag service providers, but the beauty of the iBus System is that it is 100% Filipino," said Tolentino, who promised to let Arboleras present her System next week to Metro Manila bus operators. "We will also help test the concept in a designated area for around ten buses," he added.

"I am grateful for the support extended by Chairman Tolentino," said Arboleras, who promised to continue enhancing the iBus System.

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NOVEMBER 15, 2011

MMDA Confiscates 14 Plates of Errant Bus Operator



The Traffic Discipline Office (TDO) of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday (November 14) confiscated 14 license plates of buses belonging to Jell Transport Inc., pursuant to a Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) resolution ordering Jell to immediately surrender the yellow plates of all its authorized units and cancelling its certificates of public convenience. This was to penalize Jell Transport for participating in a bus strike last November 15, 2010 protesting the inclusion of public utility buses in the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, otherwise known as the number coding scheme.

The LTFRB had requested the MMDA-TDO to assist in implementing the order.

A composite team composed of MMDA-TDO personnel, LTFRB representatives and members of the Philippine National Police proceeded to the Jell Transport premises located at Camarin, Caloocan to implement the order.

Today (November 15), the MMDA received notice that Jell had appealed the LTFRB resolution. The LTFRB Rules of Procedure state that an order, ruling, decision or resolution of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board shall become final unless an appeal is filed within thirty days.

"The MMDA Traffic Discipline Office will comply with the latest LTFRB Resolution," said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

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NOVEMBER 11, 2011

MMDA, DOLE, Bus Transport - ITC, DOTC, LTFRB & LTO Co-signs Joint Statement on Bus Drivers' Compensation Scheme

Bus drivers' wages shall be based on part-fixed and part-performance based parameters, instead of purely commission basis. The fixed component shall not be lower than the applicable minimum wage, while the performance based component shall be based on safety parameters such as zero road accidents and traffic violations, company revenues and other parameters of performance or productivity.

This was one of the main points of a Joint Statement co-signed by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, Angelo Gamboa and Leonides Rabanes of the Bus Transport - Industry Tripartite Council, and representatives from the Department of Transportation and Communication, Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board and Land Transportation Office.

The statement, a result of a series of studies and surveys conducted by an inter-agency technical working group, aims to adopt and implement measures to promote public transport safety and develop a standard compensation scheme for workers in the transport industry.

This effort was initiated by MMDA Chairman Tolentino following the tragic death of UP Professor Lourdes Estella Simbulan.

"This joint statement is a landmark achievement for the entire public transport industry," Tolentino said.

"After Professor Simbulan's untimely demise, I pledged to implement profound, institutional and fundamental changes in traffic management and labor laws, to police the operations of the bus transport industry. We must be assured of safe, healthy and optimum working conditions and wage rates for bus drivers and other transport personnel. They should not be exploited by unscrupulous operators whose only aim is to maximize profit at the expense of public welfare, safety and security. In so doing, we would have ensured that Professor Simbulan's death would not have been in vain," he added.

The report indicated six important areas that need improvement: terms and conditions of work, competency, social protection, franchising, traffic rules and regulations and traffic-related information, and road design.

Further, it also identified factors that affect road transport safety such as driver behavior, road design, drivers' licensing, public utility vehicle franchising systems, and enforcement of traffic rules and regulations.

"The series of consultations and discussions with the industry players validated our opinion that the risk-taking behavior of drivers has something to do with the lack of income security because of the commission-based compensation scheme employed by bus operators. That is why we really need to professionalize their sector by providing them standard wages and the mandatory benefits such as Social Security, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG, etc. " Tolentino said.

The implementation of a uniform compensation system will commence by early next year, upon the issuance of a DOLE wage order.

The technical working is composed of DOLE, National Wages and Productivity Commission, Institute for Labor Studies, Occupational Safety and Health Center, Bureau of Working Conditions, and the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics.

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NOVEMBER 10, 2011

MMDA Issues Permits for DPWH Road Rehabilitation & Improvement Projects

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today announced the issuance of permits for various road rehabilitation and improvement projects to be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) all over the metropolis. (Please see attached for the complete list of projects)

Chairman Francis Tolentino said the projects were approved to facilitate the immediate repair and maintenance of several major and secondary thoroughfares within Metro Manila.

"We have approved the projects deemed necessary in improving the condition of our roads, which in effect can improve the flow of traffic. This is a preventive measure, because we want to avoid any further damage and inconvenience to our motorists," Tolentino said.

As per the conditions set by MMDA, contractors are allowed to conduct road reblocking activities only on Fridays (10 p.m.) until Mondays (4 a.m.). Roads should be cleared and fully passable by 5 a.m. on Mondays.

According to Tolentino, personnel from the Traffic Engineering Center will strictly monitor and enforce the deadlines set by the authority.

The public is advised to use alternate routes and strictly obey the traffic rules to avoid any inconvenience or untoward incidents.

Meanwhile, Tolentino reiterated that a moratorium on all road diggings and excavations would be in effect starting December 15 until January 2, as agreed upon by DPWH, in anticipation of an increased vehicular volume and pedestrian traffic during the Christmas season.

DPWH Projects

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NOVEMBER 10, 2011

MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino's Statement on the Cancellation/Suspension of Franchises of Bus Operators who Participated in the November 15, 2010 Strike Protesting the Inclusion of Public Utility Buses in the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), aka Number Coding Scheme

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority commends the Department of Transportation and Communications, through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for having ordered the cancellation or suspension of franchises of public utility bus operators who participated in the November 15, 2010 transport strike.

The transport strike was staged by the bus operators to protest their inclusion in the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, otherwise known as the number coding scheme. Two days after the strike, the MMDA reported which bus companies had fielded a suspiciously low number of buses on November 15, 2010. We recommended the imposition of the most stringent and exacting penalties imposable by law, for their having severely prejudiced the commuting public.

The MMDA shall strictly enforce and implement the LTFRB Resolutions, as the law provides that they are immediately executory. Until we receive official notifice of the revocation or amendment of the resolutions, we shall comply with the law. Furthermore, the burden of proof lies on the PUB operators to show that they have filed their appeals or motions for reconsideration.

As always, the MMDA will uphold the rule of law in accordance with our mandates, for public welfare, orderly traffic management and public safety.

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NOVEMBER 4, 2011

MMDA Celebrates 36th Founding Anniversary on November 8

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be celebrating its 36th founding anniversary on Tuesday, November 8, with a series of daylong activities, including free rides to the public along Edsa.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will lead the anniversary celebration, along with members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) composed of the 17 mayors from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Also invited to the event are the former chairmen of the MMDA, selected members of the House of Representatives, the Metro Manila Spouses Foundation, Inc., and heads of other government agencies and foreign dignitaries.

"This would be a memorable day not just for the MMDA but for the entire Metro Manila. At 36 years, we have come a long way, we have endured and persevered, and we will still be here for decades to come, providing basic, metro-wide services within Metro Manila," Tolentino said.

With the theme "MMDA @ 36: Maasahan, Kabalikat sa Pagbabago," the agency's anniversary activities will start with a five-kilometer Fun Run to be participated by 500 MMDA employees at Bonifacio Global City at 5:30 am.

Tolentino will lead the flag ceremony at the MMDA grounds along Edsa-Orense Street in Makati City, where traffic enforcers of the Traffic Discipline Office (TDO) will conduct a pass-in-review to honor MMDA officials and guests.

In grateful appreciation to the public's support for the programs of the MMDA, several MMDA buses will be dispatched to Edsa to offer free rides to commuters.

Other activities lined up on Tuesday include food bazaar and tiangge, a health and wellness program for employees, and a video and photo exhibit and a garage sale at the MMDA lobby.

In addition, Tolentino said the agency will also be giving out special awards and citations to outstanding employees, especially those who have been in service for more than 30 years.

MMDA performs planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in the process exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide services within Metro Manila.

Created by Presidential Decree 824 issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos, MMDA originally started out as Metro Manila Commission (MMC) on November 7, 1975, which integrated Manila and adjacent Quezon City with two cities and 12 municipalities of the province of Rizal and one municipality of Bulacan.

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos was then the appointed Metro Manila governor, with Ismael Mathay, Jr. as vice-governor.

It was on January 9, 1990, during President Corazon Aquino's administration, that MMC became the Metro Manila Authority (MMA) through Executive Order No. 392. Now Vice President Jejomar Binay was its first chairman.

The agency was officially renamed as MMDA on March 1, 1995 through the passage of Republic Act 7924. Then President Fidel Ramos appointed the late former Malabon mayor Prospera Oreta as the first MMDA chairman.

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OCTOBER 26, 2011

MMDA Puts Up Designated Smoking Areas

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started putting up cigarette bins along major thoroughfares where smokers can smoke and throw away their cigarette butts.

The measure is in line with the Tobacco Regulation Act that mandates administrators of places not covered by the absolute smoking ban, to designate smoking areas.

The bins will be placed strategically at designated areas, about ten meters away from bus loading/ unloading bays.

The cigarette bins are 55-gallon drums cut in half and filled with sand.

Chairman Francis Tolentino appealed to the public not to move, dislodge, or throw any other kind of trash into the bins.

Twenty-nine bins will be placed along EDSA particularly on Baclaran, Pasay, Magallanes, Ayala, Buendia, Estrella, Guadalupe, Megamall, Santolan, Cubao, Kamuning, Quezon Avenue, Oliveros, Muñoz, and Monumento.

Thirteen will be put up along the stretch of Commonwealth Avenue, particularly on Philcoa, UP University Avenue, Diliman Prep, Ever Gotesco, IBP Road, St. Peter's Church, Ayala Technohub, Central Avenue, and Don Antonio.

According to the MMDA chief, smoking is prohibited in waiting sheds so smokers must go to the nearest cigarette bin where they could smoke.

The Agency's Health, Public Safety, and Environmental Protection Office is tasked to place the cigarette bins to ensure that cleanliness is maintained at the designated smoking areas.

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OCTOBER 26, 2011

MMDA Chairman Dismayed Over Preliminary Injunction on Anti-Smoking

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino expressed dismay over reports that a writ of preliminary injunction was issued yesterday (25 October 2011) by Mandaluyong RTC Branch 21 Judge Carlos Valenzuela, ordering the Authority to refrain from apprehending violators of the Tobacco Regulation Act in places not within the law's coverage.

Section 5 of the Act prohibits smoking in public places such as centers of youth activity including schools, elevators and stairwells, locations where fire hazards are present, within public and private hospitals and other medical facilities, public conveyances and facilities such as transport terminals, train and bus stations, restaurants and conference halls, and food preparation areas.

The law also requires the establishment of smoking and non-smoking areas in all enclosed places open to the general public, private workplaces and other places not covered by the absolute prohibition, where smoking may expose a person other than the smoker to tobacco smoke.

"We remain steadfast in our anti-smoking efforts despite the injunction," the Chairman said. As of October 21, the Agency had apprehended 10, 912 anti-smoking violators.

"Our campaign is supported by the Department of Health, local government units in Metro Manila and beyond, the Philippine Medical Association, and so many other individuals and associations who believe in a healthy and smoke-free environment. The public knows more about the pernicious effects of smoking. Other local government units, even outside of Metro Manila, are launching their own anti-smoking campaigns," he added.

Meanwhile, MMDA Health, Public Safety and Environmental Protection Head, Dra. Loida Labao-Alzona was invited by the Provincial Government of Rizal to speak during the launching of the Province's anti-smoking campaign tomorrow (October27).

The MMDA Chairman stressed that the Agency's anti-smoking efforts are also in line with worldwide sentiments, citing the May 2011 United Nations Report of the Secretary General on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) that non-communicable diseases have reached epidemic proportions, and smoking is one factor attributable to this.

"We are truly very grateful that other groups have joined the campaign against smoking in public places. This alone is a testament that we are doing the right thing."

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OCTOBER 24, 2011

MMDA Unveils Oplan Kaluluwa 2011

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority today firmed up Oplan Kaluluwa 2011 in tandem with concerned government agencies and private entities. In an unprecedented move, MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino enlisted the cooperation and assistance of the owners and administrators of private cemeteries in Metro Manila, who attended today's (October 24) meeting. He called on private civic organizations such as the various Rotary chapters to volunteer their assistance as well.

Also present at today's meeting were PNP HPG Director Police Superintendent Leonardo Espina, representatives of Loyola Memorial Parks in Marikina and Sucat, Himlayang Pilipino, Manila South and North cemeteries, representatives of the traffic management bureaus of the different Metro Manila local government units, the Philippine Information Agency, and the Bureau of Fire Protection. They laid out their contingency plans for the forthcoming "Undas", emphasizing traffic management, road rerouting, public safety and security.

Chairman Tolentino said majority of the MMDA traffic enforcers are tasked to ensure the smooth flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic along Metro Manila's thoroughfares leading to the major cemeteries.

Mobile patrol units, traffic enforcers, police personnel and medical teams will be deployed throughout Metro Manila, especially in the large cemeteries and memorial parks, both public and private. Public assistance stations will also be set up at strategic locations.

"Our enforcers shall strictly monitor and manage traffic particularly at identified choke points such as Balintawak, Dangwa, bus terminals and roads leading to the South Luzon Expressway," Tolentino said.

Assistant General Manager for Operations Emerson S. Carlos appealed to the public to avoid EDSA and use alternate routes going to the North Luzon Expressway. "The public may use C-5, Katipunan, Tandang Sora, Congressional Avenue, and Mindanao Avenue leading to NLEX as heavy traffic is expected along EDSA," Carlos said.

Motorists may also use the MMDA-designated Mabuhay lanes such as A. Bonifacio, C-3 Araneta, Magsaysay Boulevard, Nagtahan, President Quirino Avenue, and South Superhighway going to SLEX or NLEX.

MMDA enforcers will work hand-in-hand with the PNP-HPG, local government units and other civic volunteer groups. "It's all systems go for All Saint's Day. The LGUs have already mapped out their rerouting plans, and close coordination is needed to ensure a peaceful and orderly celebration," Tolentino said.

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OCTOBER 18, 2011

MMDA Motorcycle Lanes Now Called Blue Lanes

The motorcycle lanes established by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City and Macapagal Avenue in Pasay and Paranaque are now called "Blue Lanes," Chairman Francis N. Tolentino announced today.

"Our men worked feverishly, round the clock to paint the lanes blue so that they could be easily identified," the MMDA Chief explained.

Effective yesterday (October 17), non-exclusive motorcycle lanes were designated on the two major thoroughfares; for Commonwealth, the fourth (4th) lane from the curb, and for Macapagal, the first (1st). Motorcycle riders are also required to observe a 60-kph speed limit.

For now, violators will not be issued traffic tickets but are required to undergo a 15-minute seminar at designated spots along the thoroughfares. A special sticker is given to a rider who completes the seminar, that could be attached to his motorcycle.

Beginning October 24th, traffic tickets will be issued to violators and a Php 500 fine will be meted to those who breach the designated lane, except when making turns or U-turns, in which case motorcycle riders are to gradually shift lanes 100 meters away from the turning point.

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OCTOBER 3, 2011

Double-Layered Seawall is good for Tourism and Environment - Chairman Francis Tolentino

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today said his proposed design of a double-layered seawall along Roxas Boulevard would promote tourism and enhance the environment. It would also improve public safety, serving as the first line of defense against strong waves from Manila Bay.

Tolentino's proposed design includes the construction of a concave second seawall running parallel to the existing seawall along Roxas Boulevard. "It will enhance public safety and address environmental concerns," said the MMDA Head. "The proposed new seawall will be the first layer of defense from strong waves coming from Manila Bay during storms and other natural disasters. Built in accordance with the latest technology, it will be an improved structure that shall be stronger to withstand the buffeting waves."

The MMDA Chair said the design will also enhance Roxas Boulevard as a major tourist destination, landmark and seawall promenade. The new seawall will be accessible to visitors through Spanish-style bridges. Plants, mangroves and benches shall be installed on the promenade or within the vicinity, so that tourists and passersby could better appreciate the beauty of Manila Bay and its famous sunset.

The access bridges shall be opened from 10am till 5pm as a promenade similar to those in Galveston, Texas and Vancouver, Canada. The bridges would remain closed during off-hours or during storms and other disasters.

"I hope this design would merit the favorable endorsement of concerned government agencies, and of the public as well," the Chairman said.



(Click to enlarge)



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SEPTEMBER 29, 2011

MMDA Lifts Moratorium on All Road Re-Blocking Activities in Metro Effective Tomorrow, Sept. 30

Starting 10 p.m. tomorrow (Sept. 30), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), utility firms and their contractors may resume their road re-blocking activities in Metro Manila, including those along Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (Edsa), following the lifting of the temporary suspension on these road repairs and diggings by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the lifting of the moratorium on road repairs and construction will enable the DPWH and its contractors to resume their re-blocking works in sites which were temporarily halted following the issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 16, Series of 2011 by the MMDA last Sept. 16, suspending public works due to the typhoons forecast to hit the country this month.

The MMDA Traffic Engineering Center identified five (5) unfinished road re-blocking sites as along Edsa near Trinoma south bound, Congressional Road near Cherry Foodarama, Edsa near Ayala ave. south bound, Osmeña Highway between Magallanes to Zobel St. north bound and along North Ave. (Edsa to Elliptical Road).

Tolentino reminded contractors to abide by MMDA's conditions to prevent road works from impeding the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. These include the requirement that work shall start at 10 p.m. Friday and end early enough to render the work area passable to vehicles by 4 a.m. Monday, and that signages bearing the name and contact numbers of the contractor be posted at the work site.

He added that the contractors should also take appropriate measures to ensure that the affected roadways remain passable, clear and serviceable to all vehicles and pedestrians during the road construction period.

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SEPTEMBER 29, 2011

MMDA Intensifies Post-Pedring Operations

After initially focusing on Manila Bay, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today re-intensified its post-"Pedring" cleanup and rehabilitation of other areas in Metro Manila.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency has also started the cleanup of barangays Tumana and Malanday in Marikina City, and the repair of the collapsed portions of the Malabon dike.

"The weather bureau says there is a new typhoon coming so we have taken advantage of this temporary break in the weather to clear all the garbage and debris left by typhoon Pedring, and also check our flood control facilities that need repairs," Tolentino said.

About 60 members of the MMDA Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office (FCSMO) have been deployed in Marikina to conduct extensive de-clogging of the city's drainage systems.

Pedring, with its strong winds and heavy rains, also left much garbage and water hyacinth at the Marikina River, whose water level reached critical level during the typhoon's onslaught.

"Water level at the river has so far gone down, but it left behind tons of mud," Tolentino said.

Similar cleanup operations are also being conducted in Navotas City, he added.

In Malabon, portions of Pinagkabalian river dike gave way, causing massive flooding in Bgy. Dampalit and nearby communities.

The repair works are currently being undertaken by the MMDA and the local government of Malabon.

As a temporary measure, MMDA workers will be placing sandbags on the breached portion, to prevent the intrusion of seawater which could affect residents in the vicinity.

On Wednesday, the agency cleaned up tons of debris along the Manila Bay, mostly bamboo washed ashore from fish pens in Cavite. The storm surge has damaged portions of the seawall.

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SEPTEMBER 29, 2011

MMDA Again Asks Court to Authorize Roll Down of Billboards

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority lawyers filed today another motion reiterating the request of the agency to be given authority to remove billboards along major thoroughfares in view of the incoming tropical storm "Queil" this weekend.

MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino lamented the inaction of Judge Elpidio Calis of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 133 to grant the motion it filed on Monday (September 26), ahead of the onslaught of Typhoon Pedring. "Pedring" caused at least two billboards in Makati City and Quezon City to topple, injuring two motorists and damaging properties.

Calis, who issued the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the MMDA's "Operation Roll Down, Baby", has since inhibited himself from the case filed by the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP).

Chairman Tolentino is considering filing an administrative case against Judge Calis. "Judge Calis took it upon himself to inhibit from the case just as we have filed another motion," Tolentino said as he conveyed his frustration over the development of the case.

Tolentino pointed out that the presiding judge should have taken into consideration the safety of the public. "We're fortunate the damage was minimal," the MMDA chief said.

Two motorists were injured – Leandro Torres and Lorenza Garcia – when strong winds toppled a steel billboard structure, pinning the victims inside their Toyota Corolla sedan at the corner of Osmena Highway and Gil Puyat Avenue.

A Mitsubishi Pajero sports utility vehicle and a passenger bus were also damaged in the incident.

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SEPTEMBER 26, 2011

MMDA Asks Court to Assist in Typhoon Preparations

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today filed an urgent motion before Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 133 to allow the Agency to roll down billboards in view of the possible onslaught of typhoon "Pedring".

On September 1, Judge Elpidio Calis granted the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines' (OAAP) petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the MMDA's anti-billboard campaign.

The TRO enjoined the MMDA to stop the enforcement of its Memorandum Circular No. 10 Series of 2011 regulating the display of advertising billboards along major roads and open spaces. The TRO lapsed on September 22.

The Motion was filed in deference to the current status quo agreed upon by MMDA and OAAP during the last court hearing held on September 21.

"I find it necessary to file the motion to prevent any possible accident or damage that may be brought upon to lives and property by falling billboards along the major thoroughfares, particularly with the coming tropical storm," Tolentino said.

The MMDA head cited the example of Typhoon Milenyo which hit Metro Manila in 2006 and toppled trees and billboards which led to loss of lives and property.

A significant number of billboards were taken down when MMDA intensified its campaign against billboards found to be violating provisions set in the National Building Code.

Last month, during the height of typhoon "Mina", one man died and eight were injured after a wall with a billboard structure on top along Quirino Highway in Novaliches, Quezon City collapsed due to strong winds and heavy rains.

According to Tolentino, he is hopeful that the judge will see the merits of the motion and grant his request.

"Our primary concern here is public safety," Tolentino said.

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2011

MMDA: Make Sure Your Lights Are On

Over 160 motorists were apprehended in one night by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for driving without turning on their headlights.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the apprehended motorists were cited for reckless driving, which carries a fine of P500 for first offense, P750 for second offense, and P1,000 for third offense as provided under Center for Transport and Traffic Management (CTTM) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 26, Series of 1998, and Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation Code of the Philippines.

CTTM is the former name of the Traffic Discipline Office (TDO), the traffic management arm of the MMDA.

"Night driving without headlights is dangerous. We have to remind the public that it is prohibited under the law, for everybody's safety," Tolentino said.

On Wednesday (Sept. 22) night, Tolentino ordered the re-intensified implementation of MC No. 26 after observing that many motorists are driving along major thoroughfares at nighttime without their headlights on.

A total of 163 motorists, mostly taxi drivers, were apprehended by TDO traffic enforcers along Edsa, Commonwealth Avenue, Nagtahan, Aurora Boulevard, Marcos Highway, C-5 Road, and Ortigas Avenue.

Tolentino said a considerable number of apprehended vehicles were also found to have defective headlights.

"No headlights at night constitute reckless driving," said the MMDA chief, adding that the erring motorists may also face revocation of their driving licenses.

Tolentino said studies prove that driving without headlights is a major cause of vehicular collisions, especially at nighttime.

In some states in the US, there are even laws requiring car manufacturers to install daytime running lights (DRLs) on their vehicles.

Daytime running lights (DRLs) are headlights that are lit whenever a vehicle is running. A low-cost method to reduce crashes, they are especially effective in preventing daytime head-on and front-corner collisions by making it easier to see vehicles, particularly as they approach from far away.

Tolentino called on motorists to regularly check the condition of their vehicle headlights. He added: "To avoid accidents, safety experts recommend a number of ways to avoid a tragedy: clean your headlights once a week and especially after it rains; have a mechanic aim your lights and be careful using your high beams so you do not blind other drivers."

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2011

MMDA Anti-Smoking Campaign in Full Swing

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today clarified that the Agency's anti-smoking campaign is in full swing, belying rumors of the campaign being "here today, gone tomorrow."

"As of September 21, the Agency has apprehended 8,427 violators, 7,878 of which are male, and 549, female," said the Chairman. "We never eased up on our anti-smoking efforts," he added, clarifying that a temporary restraining order issued by a Mandaluyong judge against the campaign prohibited the agency only from apprehending violators in places not within the coverage of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

The MMDA Chairman stressed that the Agency's anti-smoking efforts are in line with world-wide sentiments, citing the May 2011 United Nations Report of the Secretary General on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which states that NCDs have reached epidemic proportions. In 2008 alone, the Report stated, 36 million people died from NCDs, representing 63% of the 57 million global deaths that year.

The Report said the four main NCDs are: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases, all of which are caused or aggravated by tobacco use.

"The (NCD) epidemic is fuelled by a combination of rising risk factors, including tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and harmful alcohol use. The four main non-communicable diseases that share those risk factors cause almost 80 per cent of all deaths from such diseases," said the UN Report.

The Report concludes that NCDs affect the developing world and lower-income populations hardest. Quoting the Report, Chairman reiterated that "unplanned urbanization, ageing populations and the globalization of trade and product marketing, particularly for tobacco, alcohol and food, have led to a rise in the risk factors of such diseases."

"We are determined to enforce anti-smoking laws," Tolentino added.

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2011

Palace Directs MMDA Chairman to Head Transport Strike and Mass Action Task Force

President Benigno Aquino III directed MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino to head and act as the President's personal representative to the inter-agency Presidential Task Force on Transport Strike and Mass Action (TRASMA), which takes charge of government actions and responses on transport strikes and similar incidents.

Under Memorandum Circular No. 18 dated September 14, 2011, Task Force TRASMA members are the Secretaries of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Trade and Industry (DTI).

It also includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary and the Commissioner on Higher Education (CHED).

Task Force TRASMA's authority includes provision of alternative transportation, logistical support, maintenance of peace and order, security to non-participating transport groups/ individuals and apprehension and filing of charges for violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations relative to the conduct of transport strikes.

The MMDA was tasked to immediately convene the Task Force to work on detailed actions and contingency plans to address issues and concerns in the event of a transport strike in Metro Manila. The issuance was signed in time for the just-concluded PISTON-led mass transport strike.

Even ahead of the Memo Circular, however, the MMDA Chief had already been presiding over inter-agency meetings with the Philippine National Police – National Capital Region Command, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Department of Education to prepare for the PISTON strike contingencies.

"The strike was unsuccessful in Metro Manila, having minimal impact on the lives of its citizens," said the MMDA Chief, who noted that out of the seventeen local government units comprising the metropolis, classes had been canceled only in Marikina.

On the day of the Piston strike, small groups converged at Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, the Alabang Viaduct, Commonwealth Avenue, Espana corner M. dela Fuente, Monumento and Guadalupe. Aside from PISTON, students, members of Bayan and Gabriela took part. None of the convergence points developed into a critical mass, the MMDA Chair reported.

The MMDA Head, together with key officials and representatives from the other agencies convened at the MMDA Headquarters the day before the planned strike to implement Oplan Grasshopper, formulated to respond to contingencies arising from the PISTON strike.

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SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

MMDA Chair Dismayed over TRO on Billboards

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today expressed dismay and frustration over yet another temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the agency, this time ordering the suspension of the anti-billboard drive "Operation Roll Down, Baby".

In a September 1 decision, Makati Regional Trial Court (TRO) Branch 133 Judge Elpidio Calis granted the petition for TRO in its Petition for Prohibition and Injunction of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) enjoining the MMDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from implementing the anti-billboard campaign.

"Metro Manila is fast becoming the billboard capital of the world and unless something drastic is done to at least regulate its proliferation, we can never stop the rapid invasion of these visual eyesores," Tolentino said.

The MMDA chief also questioned the manner the court issued the TRO. The court heard OAAP's petition on September 1 and issued the TRO the same day. A cursory look at the three-page order of Calis showed it was written right on the day of the first hearing. The TRO was dated September 1.

The MMDA-Legal Service Department received its copy of the TRO on September 2. The next hearing is set on September 16 at 9 am.

While assuring the court that it will comply with the order, Tolentino conveyed his frustration over another roadblock on the enforcement of the MMDA's programs and policies.

Early last month, a Mandaluyong court issued a 20-day TRO against the MMDA temporarily stopping the implementation of its anti-smoking policy.

"Our worthwhile programs that benefit the public have been railroaded by these cases," Tolentino pointed out, adding that there was no urgency in the OAAP's case that would justify the immediate issuance of a restraining order.

The TRO ordered a status quo on the enforcement of MMDA Memorandum Circular No. 10. Series of 2011, and the MMDA Regulation No. 04-004 Series of 2004 that provide the rules and regulation in the application, grant of permits, and displaying of advertising billboards along major roads, streets, parks, and open spaces.

The TRO also stopped the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the MMDA and the DPWH signed on August 31, 2010 which deputized the MMDA to implement provisions of the National Building Code that concerned the installation of billboard frames along major thoroughfares.

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SEPTEMBER 9, 2011

Month-long MMDA Estero Blitz Ends; more than 7,000 cubic meters of waste collected from Metro Manila creeks

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) 30-day strategic and relentless cleanup of creeks and other waterways in Metro Manila, dubbed the "August Estero Blitz", finally ended last Thursday, September 8, with more than 7,000 cubic meters of garbage and silt collected from a total of 45 esteros.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said it was fitting to end the campaign on the birthday of Mother Mary, to whom the agency head is specially devoted. He reported that 7,383 cubic meters of waste, enough to fill up three Olympic-size swimming pools, were collected and disposed of by the agency, a measure that would hopefully reduce flooding in the metropolis.

In recognition of the MMDA employees' hard work, Chairman Tolentino will hand them free rice packs this Monday (Sept. 12), during the flag ceremony.

"In a month's time, we collected 1,150 truckloads of waste from 45 esteros, diversion channels and other waterways. Although this is just one-tenth of the siltation there, you can imagine the dire effect if this huge of volume of garbage continued to clog our drainage systems," Tolentino said.

The August Estero Blitz commenced on August 8 with the objective of cleaning up and dredging 69,766 meters of major creeks in Metro Manila that perennially cause flooding during the rainy season.

An offshoot of the MMDA's "480 Minutes" cleanup activity on eight flood-prone areas in Metro Manila on July 24, the "Blitz" targeted two esteros a day in 16 cities and one municipality in the National Capital Region.

The MMDA-Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office and Metro Parkway Clearing Group had the most number of cleanup operations in Manila, successfully cleaning up eight creeks in four different days.

These include Estero de Quiapo, Estero De Vitas and the Manila portion of Tripa de Gallina and Sta. Clara creek.

MMDA workers also cleaned up and dredged San Juan River and its tributaries in San Juan and Quezon City, including Talayan creek near Araneta Avenue, whose waters easily swell and cause flooding during a heavy downpour.

"We're hoping that local government units, including barangays, will regularly clean their waterways on their own. Households should likewise adopt proper waste disposal practices," Tolentino said.

The MMDA and other agencies were required by the Supreme Court in the Manila Bay case to protect and preserve the country's internal waters, rivers, shores, and seas polluted by human activities.

Clogged and silted waterways were pinpointed as one of the major causes of the catastrophic flooding brought about by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, the most devastating typhoon to hit Metro Manila and nearby provinces. A total of 464 deaths were recorded after the typhoon's onslaught.

As the drainage and waterways were clogged by garbage, their water carrying capacity was greatly reduced, significantly minimizing their capability to hasten the subsiding of floodwaters, according to Tolentino.

"Do not let another ‘Ondoy' teach us a bitter lesson. The success of our estero cleanup might be minimal, but its real objective is to awaken us to the reality that we have to care for our environment and clean our waterways," the MMDA chief said. He enjoined all local government units to strictly enforce easement laws which prohibit the erection of structures within a defined perimeter from the waterways.

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SEPTEMBER 8, 2011

MMDA to Pursue Criminal Charges Against Motorist who Shot Traffic Enforcer

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today directed the agency's lawyers to pursue criminal charges against a motorist who ruthlessly shot and seriously wounded an MMDA traffic enforcer along Edsa in Mandaluyong City last Wednesday.

Tolentino assured the family of traffic enforcer Larry Fiala that the MMDA will attend to his medical care and related needs. He vowed to give special attention to the case until the suspect, Edward John Gonzalez, 30, is brought to court and made to pay for his crime.

Gonzalez, a resident of Makati, was arrested by the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and is now detained at the Mandaluyong City police headquarters. Meanwhile Fiala, who sustained at least five gunshot wounds in his abdomen, is recovering from an emergency operation in guarded condition at the Victor Potenciano Memorial Hospital.

Speaking from his hospital bed as he himself is being treated for a viral infection, Chairman Tolentino lamented the lack of respect for traffic laws. "Mr. Fiala was performing his duty unarmed. All he had were his traffic citation tickets and his determination to enforce our traffic laws. It is appalling that a heartless individual would just shoot him for no clear reason," Tolentino said.

The MMDA chief thanked PNP-HPG Director General Leonardo Espina for the HPG's quick response leading to the prompt arrest of the suspect. "We're hoping Mr. Fiala's condition improves," he added.

He also called on motorists to give MMDA traffic enforcers the respect they deserve.

"Traffic laws were enacted to put order in the streets. And somebody has to enforce the law and we motorists have to comply. Let us treat each other with respect. Definitely we don't want anyone to get hurt," Tolentino said.

Police reports showed Fiala flagged down a black Nissan Frontier pick-up (WMD 505) in Edsa, Cubao for a traffic violation but the driver, Gonzalez, got irked and hit him in the face before speeding away.

Fiala chased Gonzalez aboard his motorcycle until he caught up with him near Connecticut Street in Edsa southbound, where they engaged in an argument.

A witness related that Gonzalez, at the height of the argument, went back inside his vehicle and emerged with a gun, shooting the hapless traffic enforcer repeatedly at close range. He walked back to his vehicle casually and drove away.

A taxi driver brought the unconscious traffic enforcer to the nearby hospital.

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AUGUST 24, 2011

MMDA Wants Zero Billboards along Roxas Boulevard and Diosdado Macapagal Avenue

Following the examples of cities abroad, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today said he will work to make Roxas Boulevard and Diosdado Macapagal Avenue "billboard-free" in a few years' time.

Tolentino said this may be a difficult task, considering the number of billboards that line the two roads, but with the right will, extensive planning, and the cooperation of other government agencies and the private sector, this vision could be achieved.

He said Roxas Boulevard and Diosdado Macapagal both run along the shores of the scenic Manila Bay, and improving the areas' environment by removing the obtrusive advertising signs will make it all the more appealing to local and foreign tourists.

"Huge billboards are a blight to the environment, adding to visual clutter," the MMDA chief said.

With the objective of promoting road safety and enhancing the aesthetic value of the metropolis, Tolentino launched the "Operation Roll Down, Baby" campaign last May to clear major thoroughfares of illegal and traffic-causing billboards along Edsa and C-5 road.

The MMDA has so far filed 18 cases against outdoor advertising firms for violating the National Building Code provisions on outdoor signs.

In his plan to make Roxas Boulevard and Diosdado Macapagal Avenue billboard-free, Tolentino said the MMDA could learn from the experience of Honululu, Hawaii, which is one of the only four US states that are billboard-free.

The anti-billboard campaign in Honululu is spearheaded by a private group of environmentalists, The Outdoor Circle, which has succeeded in keeping Hawaii clean and green and eliminating billboard advertising along the capital's roadways.

"Honululu's road networks were lined with massive billboards years ago but the citizens took it upon themselves to remove all of these, and now roads in the city are lined not with advertising signs but with trees," Tolentino said.

The government of Greece also made a remarkable effort to halt the proliferation of billboards in its capital city of Athens, which was once cluttered with about 25,000 advertising billboards, according to Tolentino.

Citing Eurostat data, Tolentino said Greece has the second highest casualty rate due to road accidents in Europe, with more than 1.600 deaths every year (for a population of 11.2 million).

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AUGUST 17, 2011

TRO sa Smoking Ban Iaapela ng MMDA

Maghahain ng Motion for Reconsideration ang Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ang temporary restraining order (TRO) na inilabas ng Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (RTC) na nagpapatigil sa panghuhuli ng mga naninigarilyo sa mga lansangan at bangketa.

Ito ay matapos aminin ng isa sa mga complainants na nagpagamit lang siya sa isang kumpanya ng sigarilyo upang magsampa ng reklamo laban sa MMDA.

Ayon kay MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, mahalaga ang pag-amin na ito ng isa sa mga complainants upang mapawalang-bisa ang TRO na inilabas ni Judge Carlos Valenzuela.

"Planted ang mga complainants, at planado ang pagpapahuli nila sa ating mga environmental enforcers, kaya masasabi nating malamang may mga negosyanteng interesado sa kasong ito," paliwanag ni Tolentino.

Sa eksklusibong panayam ng isang television news reporter sa isa sa mga complainants, inamin nito na isang tobacco company na dati niyang pinagtatrabahuhan ang nagbayad ng P100,000 bond sa korte.

Aniya, hindi niya kayang bayaran ang ganung kalaking halaga dahil maliit lamang ang kanyang sweldo. Dinagdag pa nito na sila ay pinangakuang babayaran ng kompanya.

Siniguro naman ni Tolentino na tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang pagpapatupad ng smoking ban sa mga pampublikong lugar tulad ng mga terminal ng sasakyan.

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AUGUST 11, 2011

MMDA to Implement City Buses Tagging Scheme on August 15

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is set to implement the vehicle tagging scheme on city buses starting Monday, August 15.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said violators will not be fined during the first week of the implementation, from August 15 to 20.

"On the first week, we will only give warning to the city bus drivers and conductors but after that, we will be very strict with the enforcement of this resolution. Any city bus caught violating the scheme shall be meted appropriate sanctions," Tolentino said.

First-time violators will be fined P500. On the second offense, the MMDA will recommend the cancellation or suspension of franchise to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, according to Tolentino.

The Metro Manila Council, MMDA's policy-making body composed of the 17 mayors approved last February the vehicle tagging scheme which is a re-implementation of MMDA Resolution Number 02-27 series of 2002 authorizing the MMDA to implement vehicle tagging of all registered and franchised PUVs plying the major and secondary roads of Metro Manila.

By October, the MMDA intends to expand the tagging program to include other PUVs such as provincial buses, AUVs, school shuttle service, taxis, and cargo trucks.

The implementation of the vehicle tagging scheme is intended to track down colorum and out-of-line PUVs and improve the traffic monitoring and surveillance of the Agency. It is also expected to facilitate easy tracking and identification of traffic violators because the license plates of the PUVs will be painted prominently on the roofs, making it easy for the MMDA's CCTV cameras to capture images and identify them.

With the vehicle tagging, public safety and security is enhanced as law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) can monitor and track down marked PUVs during emergency situations. The National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) has its own set of CCTVs all over Metro Manila for surveillance and monitoring purposes.

Prior to its scheduled implementation, MMDA issued to all PUV operators Memorandum Circular Number 5 which states the guidelines to be followed for the vehicle tagging scheme.

According to the guidelines, vehicle tagging requires the painting of the license plate numbers on the roof, front, back, and two sides of the PUVs using a color scheme for easy classification.

Meanwhile, several groups of city bus operators, during a dialogue with Chairman Tolentino pledged their support for the implementation of the vehicle tagging scheme, especially those units plying Edsa, as they believe it would eventually curb the operations of colorum buses. Tolentino pledged to conduct regular dialogues with the bus operator groups.

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AUGUST 5, 2011

MMDA's August Estero Blitz to Start on Monday

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will launch on Monday (August 8) the August Estero Blitz at the Tripa de Gallina and Estero de Sta. Clara which traverse the cities of Makati, Pasay, and Manila.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will personally lead the intensive cleanup starting at 6 a.m.

The August Estero Blitz aims to clean at least two esteros daily for one month. It was conceptualized following the successful "480 Minutes" cleanup operations on the eight identified flood-prone areas in Metro Manila which took place last July 24.

At least fifty personnel from the Agency's Metro Parkway Clearing Group and Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office will be deployed for the cleanup.

Heavy equipment such as cranes with clamp shells and backhoes will likewise be utilized on the said cleanup drive for dredging of accessible waterways.

"We are optimistic that this estero cleanup will mitigate flooding and will raise public awareness on the consequences of indiscriminate throwing and dumping of garbage," Tolentino said.

The August Estero Blitz is set to cover 69,766 meters of various waterways on the sixteen cities and one municipality comprising Metro Manila.

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AUGUST 2, 2011

MMDA Inaugurates State-of-the-Art Flood Control Information Center

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will inaugurate tomorrow its newly-created Flood Control Information Center (MMDA - FCIC), a nerve center for the agency's flood control and disaster-related operations.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the FCIC will comprehensively monitor Metro Manila flood-prone areas and provide crucial information needed to make policy decisions in crisis situations.

The Center is equipped with sixteen LCD monitors connected to over seventy closed-circuit televisions trained on key Metro Manila intersections, flood-prone areas and pumping stations.

The Center will tap PAG-ASA and other international satellite-based weather monitoring services and utilize an Incident Management and Map Navigation Software that will collate information on flood and other disaster-related incidents. It has a floor map of Metro Manila and outlying waterways that will help trace communities that would be affected when water systems overflow.

"It's a decision support system," said Ramon Santiago, head of the MMDA-FCIC, "especially for emergencies. It collects all information regarding floods and operating systems, especially our pumping stations. We'll be able to draw in information from PAG-ASA and information in critical areas so we can plot incidents and what is the response that we have done, and what further measures we need to do."

"The information generated at the Center will eventually be made available to the Metro Manila local government units and the public, to guide them on what to do during emergencies," he added.

Expected to grace the 11 a.m. event are Undersecretary Benito Ramos of the Office of Civil Defense – National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Undersecretary Graciano Yumul of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and local government executives.

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AUGUST 1, 2011

MMDA to Launch Month-long Estero Blitz

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today announced the conduct of a month-long intensive cleanup of Metro Manila esteros starting next Monday, August 8.

Dubbed as the "August Estero Blitz", the daily cleanup, to be spearheaded by personnel from the agency's Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office and Metro Parkway Clearing Group, shall be personally supervised by the MMDA chief.

"We are targeting two esteros per day, which we hope will reduce flooding in most areas," Tolentino said.

The "August Estero Blitz" is an offshoot of the MMDA's successful "480 Minutes Cleanup Drive" which took place last July 24, participated by 8,000 MMDA personnel and volunteers who cleaned Metro Manila's eight identified flood-prone areas.

A study previously conducted by the agency showed that flooding in Metro Manila is caused by the limited capacity of existing esteros, diversion channels, creeks, and other waterways as a result of indiscriminate dumping of garbage.

According to the MMDA Chair, it is essential to clean the tributaries initially, including the esteros, before cleaning Manila Bay.

Tolentino cited a Supreme Court mandate in the landmark case "Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, et. al. v. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay, et. al. (G.R. No. 171947-48, 18 December 2008)," requiring the MMDA and other government agencies to "protect and preserve, at the first instance, our internal waters, rivers, shores, and seas polluted by human activities."

Tolentino stressed that this undertaking cannot be done by the government alone.

"A sustainable effort requires the integrated management of activities among government and the citizenry, anchored on effective public-private partnership," Tolentino said.

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JULY 29, 2011

MMDA's Lingap sa Barangay Shifts to Marikina

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) resumed its "Lingapsa Barangay" program this morning at Barangay Tumana in Marikina City.

Agency personnel were deployed to the area to assist local officials and residents in cleaning the roadways, declogging of drainage systems, trimming of trees, repair of manholes, and declogging/desilting of drainage laterals.

Misting operations were also conducted along Ampalaya Creek to stem the spate of dengue cases.

Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency will continue the program to promote urban renewal and health-consciousness in the community level.

The Lingap program was launched late last year in response to the agency's mandate to implement improvement projects that are geared towards sustainable healthy-living.

In addition to the clean-up activities, personnel from the Health , Public Safety and Environment Protection Office will also conduct disaster preparedness training as well as orientation on the anti-smoking drive.

"A sustained anti-litter campaign and the continued dredging and declogging of waterways will significantly reduce the pernicious effects of flooding", Tolentino said. "Everyone must do their part to promote health and safety measures."

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JULY 29, 2011

MMDA Spots PUV with Laminated Plate Numbers

On July 28, 2011, at about 09:40 in the morning, the Task Force Lawin mobile team of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) led by PO3 Donald Vinluan together with TAIValeriano J. Miguel Jr., TAII Larry Dula and TAI Ramil SD. Cruz conducted an anti-colorum operation along Serrano St. corner EDSA and spotted a white Nissan urvan with photocopied and plastic laminated yellow plates bearing the number TXU 585.

The vehicle was immediately impounded and the driver was cited for various violations namely, obstruction, driving without a license, breach of franchise conditions, and using fake plate numbers.

The passenger vehicle was loaded with passengers from Monumento going to Ortigas.

MMDA's anti-colorum operations are intensively being pursued by the Authority as part of its campaign to decongest the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila.

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JULY 29, 2011

MMDA Conducts Clean-up in Tambo, Parañaque

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in coordination with the local government of Parañaque,continued its massive clean-up drive yesterday, July 28, at Barangay Tambo, Parañaque City,with the theme, "Lingap sa Barangay - Parañaque Ko, Love Ko!"

Yesterday's clean-up was led by MMDA General Manager Corazon T. Jimenez. Around 200 people joined the clean-up operation composed of MMDA support teams, barangay residents and the Philippine Navy.

According to Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr., the clean-up campaign which started last July 22, Friday, involved de-clogging of drainage systems and waterways, pruning of trees, removal of construction debris and spoils, bundling of aerial cables,clearing of road and sidewalk obstructions,mowing of grasses,misting operations in public schools and distribution of fliers on dengue prevention, disaster preparedness, and the local government's campaigns on anti-littering and anti-smoking.

"We thank the MMDA for its support to our cleanliness, beautification, environmental protection and health campaigns," Mayor Bernabe said."We are happy that through our sustained efforts, the city's livability and business ratings have improved consistently. This is in line with our vision of Parañaque as a prime habitat city and investment center of the Metro South with quality education, cultural, social justice and a healthy environment sustained by an economically competitive and sound governance, synergized by capable, participative and God-loving citizenry," he added.

"Lingapsa Barangay" is a weekly clean-up advocacy of MMDA in the different barangays of Metro Manila which is participated by various stakeholders.

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JULY 22, 2011

MMDA Apprehends 2,906 Anti-Smoking Violators

After almost one month of enforcing the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported a total of 2,906 apprehensions of which 2,695 are male and 211, female. For the same period, Metropolitan Manila local government units issued 1,439 anti-smoking warnings and fined a total of 88 as they enforced their respective anti-smoking ordinances.

MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino thanked the Department of Health headed by Secretary Enrique T. Ona for bringing the anti-smoking campaign to national consciousness.

"From Day One of this campaign the Department of Health was behind us, lending their perspective and wisdom of experience as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee under the Tobacco Regulation Act," said the MMDA head.

Last May 31, the Health Department conferred the Red Orchid Award to the MMDA for the strength of its comprehensive effort to implement a 100% Tobacco-Free Environment within its own offices.

"A smoke-free environment starts from within. We make the decision to protect ourselves from the pernicious effects of first- and second-hand smoke. That is what this enforcement and massive information campaign is all about," he added. "It was never about restricting the rights of smokers. It was about equally protecting the rights of non-smokers."

Studies show that smoking increases the risk of developing certain non-communicable lifestyle diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, heart ailments, and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The campaign gained national prominence with the support of the Philippine Medical Association, Health Justice, the University of the Philippines College of Law Development Foundation, the Department of Health and the 17 local government units comprising Metro Manila.

The MMDA Chief clarified that the anti-smoking campaign also included enforcement of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board 2009 memorandum circular banning smoking and the act of carrying a lighted cigarette or other tobacco product in all public utility vehicles and public transportation terminals.

Under the Tobacco Regulation Act, the absolute smoking ban covers public conveyances and public facilities including transport terminals and train and bus stations.

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JULY 20, 2011

MMDA Leads Estero Clean-Up this Sunday

Armed with pitchforks, spades, and rakes, at least 8,000 employees and other volunteers of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will gather on Sunday, July 24, for a simultaneous cleanup of creeks and drainages in eight identified flood-prone areas of Metro Manila.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will lead the day-long extensive cleanup drive, which will also be participated in by the 17 local government units in Metro Manila, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other private sector organizations and emergency volunteer corps.

"We're gathering our workforce for an eight-hour or 480 minutes of massive cleanup of our esteros and other waterways, and we're hoping this will help drum up awareness and caring for the environment and waterways," Tolentino said.

The MMDA's "480 Minutes Cleanup Drive" will be conducted in observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month, which takes place every month of July to increase public awareness of the threats of disaster and for a better appreciation of the government's disaster preparedness program.

Tolentino is optimistic that this massive mobilization on Sunday will inspire every Metro Manila resident to at least be aware that indiscriminate dumping of trash in the streets and esteros is the major cause of flooding.

The cleanup drive will start at 8 am up to 5pm, with the MMDA workforce to be divided in eight Flood Control Bayanihan Zones – Sampaloc Area/R.Papa in Manila; Makati Diversion Channel/South Superhighway in Makati City; Maysilo Circle, Boni Avenue, Kalentong, New Panaderos, Shaw Boulevard and Acacia Lane in Mandaluyong City; Barangays Salapan and Balong Bato, San Juan City; and Dona Imelda, Damayan Lagi, Tatalon and Talayan in Quezon City.

These eight zones were identified by the MMDA as the most flood-prone areas in the metropolis. To mitigate the effects of flooding in each zone, the Agency organized eight separate multi-sectoral, community-based volunteer groups called Flood Control Bayanihan Zone Alliances (FCBZAs).

The AFP and PNP committed to send 1,000 men to augment the MMDA contingent, along with another 1,200 volunteers from the eight FCBZAs, emergency volunteer organizations, LGUs, and ROTC cadets, Tolentino said.

A total of 1,000 vehicles and equipment, from dump trucks, street sweepers, barges, ambulances, and mobile patrol cars will also be used in the cleanup operation.

Tolentino said the MMDA workers will be equipped with 5,000 pieces of brooms and plastic bags, 100 pieces of pickaxes, and hundreds of spades, crowbars, and pitchforks to fish out garbage from the creeks and drainages.

"Even for just one day, we would like the public to see that we at the MMDA are very serious and dedicated to keeping our environment clean, and we're hoping that this will inspire them to do the same, the MMDA chief said.

The Metro Manila Council, the policy-making body of the MMDA, has recently given the agency full control and responsibility over flood control concerns and projects in the National Capital Region.

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JULY 20, 2011

MMDA Chairman Phases Out Three Task Forces to Eliminate Overlapping Functions

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino ordered the phase out of three MMDA temporary offices to streamline operations and improve efficiency and professionalism. The MMDA head said the permanent, casual and contractual personnel of the three abolished offices would not be terminated, but would be evaluated and placed in other offices within the MMDA based on the Agency's needs and the employees' skills, qualifications and previous performance.

Ordered phased out for performing overlapping functions were the Agency's Construction and Equipment Maintenance Office (CEMO), the Roadway Clearing Group (RCG) and the Roadway Cleaning Operations Group. The MMDA Metro Parkway Clearing Group was created to perform the functions of the three dissolved offices.

The Chairman instructed the Agency's General Manager Corazon T. Jimenez and Head of Administrative Services Lydia P. Domingo to reassign the personnel back to their mother units or to other departments, depending on their qualifications. Equipment would be transferred to other offices based on actual need.

Citing a recent study entitled "Paul Verkuil and Pragmatic Adjustment in Government" by Sidney A. Shapiro of the Wake Forest University School of Law, Chairman Tolentino stressed the goal of achieving accountability, fairness and efficiency in the administrative process. He cited the need to eliminate redundant positions in view of the Agency's 52-percent budget cut.

"Within the ambit of civil service rules and regulations lies the need to employ sound managerial approaches," he added. "Ad hoc offices are not part of the Civil Service plantilla. They can be abolished without violating the law. But, we respect security of tenure. Our people will be placed where they are needed most to achieve optimum delivery of public services in the metropolis."

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JULY 18, 2011

MMDA Launches Traffic Navigator System

Starting today, motorists and commuters can now have fast and real-time traffic updates from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino today announced that the Metro Manila Traffic Navigator system is now in place to provide the public reliable and real-time traffic information via the Internet.

"The public can now directly access our traffic information system through the Internet to get current information on the traffic condition of the routes they plan to take," Tolentino said. "They are empowered to make informed decisions on where to pass to get to their final destination, avoiding areas that are heavily congested."

The Metro Manila Traffic Navigator project was developed under a public-private partnership between the MMDA and TV5 network, and is the first intelligent traffic system in the country.

Tolentino said the MMDA's Traffic Navigator Team, composed of six members and a team leader, is now on duty 24/7 at the agency's Metrobase. This team will operate and maintain the digitized traffic information database.

Initially, the Traffic Navigator will cover Edsa (from Balintawak to Mall of Asia), C-5 road (from Market!Market! to Libis flyover), SLEX (from Nichols to Alabang Exit), Roxas Boulevard (from Coastal Road to Anda Circle), Quezon Avenue (from Philcoa to Mayon Street), and España (from Welcome Rotunda to Lerma).

"We are adding Ortigas Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and Marcos Highway soon, and possibly the city streets, in coordination with the local government units, in the near future," Tolentino pointed out.

The system relies primarily on the MMDA closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) to get the traffic situation in an area, supported by reports sent in by traffic enforcers in the field, especially in areas where there are no surveillance cameras.

Tolentino said the Navigator does not require Global Positioning System (GPS) for accurate data--users only need an Internet connection to access it.

The Navigator can be accessed through the MMDA website mmda.gov.ph or through TV5's interaksyon.com.

The MMDA chief added the Traffic Navigator is a useful tool for the public to plan their trips accordingly and to save fuel and time.

"They can now avoid heavy-traffic areas, which will be a great help for us to decongest the roads," Tolentino said.

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JULY 8, 2011

MMDA Chairman Files 8 more Cases Against Illegal Billboard Operators in Quezon City

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino filed eight (8) more cases against three (3) billboard operators illegally maintaining billboards in Quezon City for violations of the National Building Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, and for lack of the necessary permits.

The billboards, located along E. de los Santos Avenue, Bonifacio Avenue and Immaculate Conception (Cubao), were erected without any building permit and encroached on setback requirements prescribed in the Building Code. All eight billboards had received notices of rolldown/ removal and confiscation of the illegal advertising tarpaulins from the Local Building Official of Quezon City.

A total of eighteen (18) cases have been filed against illegal billboard operators, the first batch of ten (10) billboards having been filed in Makati City by the MMDA Chairman last June.

MMDA's "Operation Roll Down, Baby" campaign against illegal billboards began in May. Composite teams with representatives from the relevant local government unit, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the MMDA were fielded to inspect billboards along EDSA and C-5 to determine whether they complied with the law. The teams will next be fielded to other major thoroughfares within the Authority's jurisdiction.

The eight offending billboard operators had also been served notices of violation by the MMDA, and granted a 15-day period to rectify the violations, with no compliance.

The MMDA Chairman pledged to continue his billboard campaign to promote public safety and rid major thoroughfares of traffic distractions, even as the City of Mandaluyong through Mayor Ben-Hur Abalos, removed three (3) offensive billboards near the Pasig River.

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JUNE 24, 2011

MMC defers implementation of vehicle tagging scheme except for city buses

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) yesterday approved the deferment in the implementation of the vehicle tagging scheme for 90 days for all public utility vehicles (PUVs) except city buses.

Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the decision is a result of previous consultations and dialogues with various transport groups as to the timeliness and viability of the tagging scheme.

Provincial bus operators have formally requested for the postponement of the vehicle tagging scheme which has been set for implementation on July 25, citing that there is a pending proposal in Congress to utilize an electronic identification system for all PUVs, which might conflict with the tagging scheme.

Meanwhile, various groups of city bus operators have pledged their support for the scheduled implementation of the tagging scheme, especially those units plying Edsa, as they believe it would eventually curb the operations of colorum buses.

The MMC, on February, approved MMDA Resolution No. 11-02 Series of 2011, strictly implementing vehicle tagging of all registered and franchised PUVs plying along the major and secondary thoroughfares of Metro Manila pursuant to MMDA Resolution No. 02-27 Series of 2002 and Section 7 (d) of Republic Act 7924.

The scheme will facilitate easy tracking and identification of violators because the license plates of the PUVs will be painted prominently on their roofs, making it easy for the CCTV cameras to capture images and identify them.

The MMDA has 68 operational CCTVs in major thoroughfares at present, which are monitored and controlled round-the-clock by the agency's command center in Makati City. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has pledged to donate 1,000 sets of CCTVs to the agency.

MMC, the policy-making body of MMDA composed of the Metro Manila Mayors, held its regular meeting yesterday morning at the Manila Yacht Club.

Present in the meeting are Mayors Sherwin Gatchalian (Valenzuela), Alfredo Lim (Manila), Aldrin San Pedro (Muntinlupa), Florencio Bernabe (Parañaque), Antonino Calixto (Pasay), Enrico Echiverri (Caloocan), Jaime Medina (Pateros), and representatives of the other local government units.

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JUNE 24, 2011

60 Kilometer/Hour Speed Limit To be Imposed Along Macapagal Ave.

Metro mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday agreed to impose a maximum speed limit of 60 kilometers/per hour for all types of vehicles traversing Diosdado Macapagal Ave. in Pasay City following pleas from concerned citizens for government to curb the spate of vehicular and pedestrian accidents in the area.

In a regular meeting of the Metro Manila Council, composed of the mayors of the 16 cities and one municipality of the metropolis and their representatives, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and officials from concerned government agencies, held yesterday at the Manila Yatch Club, the body unanimously approved a resolution setting the 60 km/hr speed limit for all public and private vehicles, including motorcycles, traversing Diosdado Macapagal Ave.

The resolution takes effect 15 days after publication in two newspapers of general circulation.

Tolentino, in an interview with newsmen, said it is high time for the MMDA and the local government units to impose the said prohibition along Macapagal Ave. to minimize, if not totally eradicate, the high incidence of reckless and unlawful drag racing along the major corridor linking Metro Manila to and from the provinces of Cavite.

"The emerging location for shopping centers and other establishments along Macapagal Ave. also multiplies the volume of vehicles that traverse in the said thoroughfare which results to the high rate of road accidents and tragic loss of lives, limbs and property, especially during night time when it is also being used by drag racers," Tolentino said.

"Now, how do you solve a headache of this magnitude, if left unattended, can put more lives in peril?" he asked.

Macapagal Ave. is 35 meters wide and almost five kilometers long with four lanes per directions where the Department of Foreign Affairs and the SM Mall of Asia are situated.

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JUNE 17, 2011

MMDA Intensifies Campaign Against Colorum PUVs

More than 50 colorum passenger buses have been impounded by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in a renewed drive against unregistered public utility vehicles (PUVs) operating along Edsa and other major thoroughfares.

As of June 16, a total of 48 provincial and six city buses found to have been operating without franchises from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have been impounded at the MMDA's Ultra 1 and 2 impounding facilities in Pasig City.

In addition, the MMDA's two task forces - Lawin and Safari - have also apprehended and impounded 73 colorum taxis and AUVs since the operation started last Wednesday, June 15.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the Ultra 1 and 2 impounding areas have been filled up with impounded PUVs that they are now using the parking spaces of their flood control pumping stations, such as the one in Libertad, Pasay City, as temporary storage sites.

"It is surprising to find out that legitimate bus operators have colorum units within their fleet, and most of them operate provincial routes. It is the riding public that will greatly suffer once these colorums get involved in accidents," Tolentino said.

Most of the impounded buses were from Dela Rosa Trans, Victory Liner, Five Star, Lucena Lines, Bataan Trans, Saint Rose, JAC Liner, Baliwag Trans, ES Trans, and Philippine Rabbit.

According to MMDA Assistant General Manager for Operation Emerson Carlos, Task Force Lawin and Safari personnel are strategically deployed along Edsa and Roxas Boulevard to go after colorum and out-of-line PUVs.

"All impounding facilities of the MMDA strategically located within the metropolis will be made available round-the-clock to serve as holding areas for vehicles apprehended," Carlos said.

The MMDA chief stressed that the campaign is part of the agency's efforts to decongest Edsa and other major thoroughfares. "Colorum and out-of-line PUVs only congest our thoroughfares. They should be taken off the roads to improve traffic flow," Tolentino said.

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JUNE 10, 2011

MMDA Chairman Files 10 Criminal Cases against Billboard Operators

MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino today filed 10 criminal complaints against building owners whose signs were erected without any permit and were in violation of the National Building Code.

The MMDA Head personally went to the Office of Makati City Assistant Prosecutor Alex Bagaoisan to file the 10 complaints under oath.

Some of the billboards had previously been set for demolition by the Makati City government. The MMDA had given the building owners fifteen days to rectify the violations, but they failed to do so.

"The Building Code states that no person or entity shall erect, repair or alter a billboard without first obtaining a permit from the local building official," he said. "Our inspection teams composed of representatives from the DPWH, MMDA and local government units discovered that many of these billboards have no such permit, and have violated locational and other safety requirements under the Code."

The criminal complaints resulted from the MMDA's "Operation Roll Down, Baby", an inter-agency effort launched last May. Teams composed of engineers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the relevant local government units inspected billboards along E. de los Santos Avenue to determine whether the outdoor signs complied with the National Building Code.

"We will sustain this campaign to ensure public safety and structural compliance," Tolentino said.

Meanwhile, the DPWH through Assistant Secretary for Support Services Roy L. Manao had ordered DPWH District Engineers and concerned officials in the National Capital Region to cause the immediate revocation of all DPWH Clearances issued covering the installation, erection, maintenance of off-premise, commercial advertising signs or signboard structures located outside the right-of-way of national roads.

The DPWH officials were instructed to immediately conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the structural stability and soundness of all billboards within their respective areas of jurisdiction and submit their comments and recommendation. They will prioritize signs along EDSA, Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard and C-5.

The MMDA Chairman said the "Roll Down, Baby" teams have finished their inspection of EDSA billboards and were now inspecting those along C-5.

"Billboards that do not comply with the National Building Code pose a threat to the life and safety of the public. The Building Code imposes standards to ensure the structural and locational viability of these signs," he noted. "Our intention is to strictly enforce the law, in order to minimize or eradicate potential danger to life and property."

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JUNE 1, 2011

Deadline for MMFF Entries Extended

In response to the request of local film producers, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee have extended the submission of scripts for this year's entries from May 30 to June 9, 2011.

Eight scripts will be chosen as official entries by a Selection Committee which will be transformed into full length movies by respective producers.

Early preparations are being undertaken by the MMFF Executive Committee in order to promote extensively the selected official entries to the public which will be shown in all theaters in Metro Manila from December 25, 2011 to January 7, 2012.

Producers and other parties, whether sole proprietorship, partnerships, joint ventures or corporations or any other organizations registered with the appropriate government regulatory agencies who are interested to exhibit their films in the MMFF are advised to submit, through the MMFF secretariat, the following requirements:

  1. Notarized Application Form and fifteen (15) copies of the script together with a notarized affidavit that the material has never been produced nor has participated in any local or international film festival and stating that the producer agrees to abide by all the rules and regulations governing the MMFF.
  2. Proof of payment of non-refundable application/entry fee of P30,000.00 for every script; and
  3. Detailed Filmography containing the list of proposed or intended lead actor/actresses and director/s who shall participate in the filming of the movie with an undertaking that the movie to be produced shall be based on the submitted screenplay and filmography.

The MMFF, an annual event espoused by MMDA, is organized primarily to help promote and enhance the preservation, growth and development of the local film industry and to extend financial assistance to the local movie industry through its beneficiaries representing various sectors of the movie industry.

Chairman Francis Tolentino, concurrent head of the MMFF Executive Committee, will announce the eight official entries on June 17, 2011 at Dulcinea Restaurant, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

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MAY 31, 2011

Re-greening program: MMDA urges public to plant more trees

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today urges Metro Manila residents to help the re-greening program of the agency by planting more trees and plants in their properties or open spaces.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said public cooperation is important as the MMDA, along with the 17 local governments in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other government agencies have embarked on a massive tree-planting campaign to beautify Metro Manila's environs.

"Greening your home will help much in the government's efforts to fight pollution," the MMDA chief said.

On February 23, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) approved MMDA Resolution No. 11-05 establishing the Metro Manila Re-Greening Committee, which is tasked to undertake the study and implementation of the re-greening activity for Metro Manila.

The committee, headed by Muntinlupa City Mayor Aldrin San Pedro, will recommend to the MMC and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the specific varieties and number of seeds of plants or trees needed for the tree-planting drive, among others.

In passing MMDA Resolution No. 11-05, the MMC said it recognizes the need to implement "a massive-tree planting program to address the problem on global warming and ensure a clean, healthy, humane and livable physical environment for all."

Tolentino said Metro Manila's continuous commercial land development not only causes mobile and stationary air pollution but also contributes to rapid urban decay.

"We're envisioning a new Metro Manila that has a uniform look, a "green" look with thousands of trees and plants all over our major roads, parks, along waterways and all other open spaces," the MMDA chief said.

Citing scientific studies, Tolentino said trees fight global warming by sequestering carbon dioxide as they grow, converting carbon dioxide and water into molecular dioxygen and plant organic matter such as carbohydrates.

The MMDA, Tolentino said, soon start planting trees along major roads, starting at Edsa.

"I have requested the assistance of the Ayala Land, Inc., considering their expertise on re-greening as evidenced in the landscaping of their properties such as the Ayala Triangle," he said.

DENR agreed to sponsor the plants to be planted all over Metro Manila. It has its National Greening Program, which targets to reforest 1.5 million hectares of idle lands nationwide.

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MAY 31, 2011

Doctors Back MMDA's Smoking Ban

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) today enjoined its members to support the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) drive to strictly enforce the smoking ban in public places in the metropolis.

Newly re-elected PMA President Oscar D. Tinio, in a message directed to its 70,000 members nationwide, reiterated his organization's advocacy for a Smoke Free Philippines which the PMA launched February this year.

"We would like to congratulate MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino for demonstrating the political will required to enforce the smoking ban in public places across the National Capital Region." Tinio said.

"Smoking kills! As physicians, it is our duty to inform the public of the clear and present danger of tobacco smoking against our health and lives" he added.

"Second hand and even third hand tobacco smoke equally kills people" Tinio added as he cites a study on Metro Manila's 12 million inhabitants showing that more than twenty per cent (20%) of heart attacks in Metro Manila can be attributed to second hand smoke. The study was done by the World Lung Foundation (WLF) and the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

The same study also revealed that if one's average exposure to second hand tobacco smoke in Metro Manila is one to seven hours per week the total attributable heart attacks would be approximately ten per cent (10%). But if the average number of hours of exposure is more than 21 hours per week, the number of second hand smoke related heart attacks in Metro Manila would increase to more than 20 per cent (20%) of the total heart attacks incident in the metropolis.

"A separate study done in the United States by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that only by eliminating smoking in indoor spaces can a non-smoker be fully protected from exposure to second-hand smoke. This study further confirms that the usual practice of separating smokers from non-smokers in public places cannot eliminate dangerous exposures of non-smokers to second hand smoke even if air cleaning devices and building ventilations are used" Tinio continues.

"These shocking revelations necessitate the total ban on tobacco smoke in public places. There are existing Philippine laws on smoking but its enforcement is poorly implemented. The Philippines was among the 172 countries that originally signed the World Health Organization - Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC), the first international treaty negotiated under the WHO and entered into force on February 25, 2005. This treaty was developed in response to the globalization of the fatal tobacco epidemic. The Philippines is yet to fully comply on its obligations under the said treaty.

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MAY 27, 2011

Strict Enforcement of No-Smoking laws in Metro Manila Starts Monday (May 30)

Here's not so good news for smokers.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today announced that starting Monday (May 30), the agency and the 17 local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila will start apprehending smokers who will be caught puffing away in public places in all major and secondary roads of the metropolis.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said MMDA and LGU health and environmental sanitation officers, usually accompanied by policemen, will round up smokers caught violating the provisions of Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, and the smoking prohibitions of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and all local ordinances and issuances.

Violators will be fined P500 on first offense while those who cannot afford to pay the fine are obliged to render an eight-hour community service.

The MMDA- LGU partnership in the enforcement of an intensified no-smoking policy within Metro Manila coincides with the observance of the 100% Smoke-Free Environment campaign on Monday and the World No Tobacco Day celebration on June 1, 2011.

Tolentino, together with the 17 Metro mayors and LTFRB Chairman Nelson Laluces, will officially launch the 100% Smoke-Free Metro Manila also on Monday in simple rites at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City where the local chief executives will jointly sign a commitment contract affirming their participation and sustained enforcement of the Tobacco Regulation Act with the end-goal of achieving a smoke-free Metro Manila by 2012.

The New York-based Bloomberg Philantrophies has approved a P9.5 million grant to the MMDA to finance the anti-tobacco use program.

In mid-June last year, the MMDA intensified its no-smoking campaign within its premises as required by a Civil Service Commission (CSC) directive ordering a total smoking ban in all government offices.

"We must be very strict in implementing our anti-smoking regulation. We want the MMDA to become a model government agency in terms of compliance with the CSC policy," Tolentino said.

Since last year, the MMDA has conducted a series of advocacy meetings and planning workshops with the 17 LGUs to get them to enact their own anti-smoking ordinances in their respective jurisdictions.

MMDA traffic enforcers, members of the Philippine National Police and even those from the LGUs have likewise been trained on the enforcement of the provisions of RA9211.

"We should transform Metro Manila into a smoke-free community. A healthy Metro Manila is a healthy and progressive Philippines," Tolentino added.

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MAY 25, 2011

MMDRRMC on Blue Alert for Typhoon "Chedeng"

The Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) today placed all its disaster and emergency response units under "Blue Alert" in anticipation of the passage of typhoon "Chedeng", Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino announced today.

On Blue Alert status, 60 percent of the total workforce of MMDRRMC, including MMDA, will be alerted and deployed for immediate response to any part of Metro Manila should "Chedeng" directly hit the National Capital Region (NCR).

"We're now under code blue. All of our equipment and rescue units are now ready," Tolentino, the concurrent chair of MMDRRMC, said after an inter-agency meeting with member-agencies and private sector organizations at the MMDA office in Makati City this afternoon.

Blue Alert is the second highest alert level of the MMDRRMC which is usually raised when a heavy downpour is experienced for at least an hour after the onslaught of a weather disturbance.

Citing the weather forecasts of PAGASA, Tolentino said they are expecting Chedeng to bring huge amount of rainfall in the metropolis, similar to typhoon "Ondoy".

Present in the MMDRRMC meeting were representatives of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), DSWD, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), AFP-NCR Command, National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO), PAGASA, Philippine National Red Cross, utility firms PLDT, Maynilad, Manila Water, and Meralco and local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and other civic volunteer groups.

The AFP-NCR Command reported that it has 50 six-by-six trucks, 30 rubber boats and two amphibian trucks on standby to help ferry stranded passengers and assist in rescue and relief efforts.

Eight of the six-by-six trucks had been lent to MMDA.

On the part of the NCRPO, it said it has placed on standby its Regional Public Safety Battalion composed of 12 teams of 2,758 men, 612 of whom were specially trained in disaster preparedness and rescue. It also has at its disposal 16 rubber boats.

The BFP, on the other hand, reported to MMDRRMC that it has alerted its 37 rescue units all over Metro Manila, consisting of 1,812 firemen, 132 fire trucks, 14 ambulances, and 17 rubber boats.

"We have sufficient number of warm bodies we could tap for disaster and emergency response," Tolentino said.

As with the MMDA, Tolentino said its Rescue Unit and Road Emergency Group and other related units have also been deployed this afternoon until Saturday when typhoon "Chedeng" is expected to exit the country.

The MMDA's Communications and Command Center will be the center of all emergency operations in Metro Manila.

"We're hoping that this MMDRRMC will be the start of synchronized efforts and seamless and cohesive disaster preparedness and response between the MMDA and other government agencies," Tolentino said.

More than the government's readiness, the MMDA chief said the safety of everyone is in the hands of individual residents and households in Metro Manila.

"We're ready as we can be. But the public should do its part by ensuring that they, too, are ready in times of calamities like this," Tolentino said.

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MAY 25, 2011

MMDA Clarifies that its Speed Guns Work at Night

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino clarified that its speed guns used to monitor overspeeding vehicles along Commonwealth Avenue could be used to monitor and apprehend overspeeding vehicles even at night.

This clarification was made in the wake of an erroneous statement uttered by MMDA Deputy Chairman Alex Cabanilla during a House committee hearing on Wednesday (May 25). Cabanilla reportedly said the speed guns could not work at night because photos captured during the evening were blurry from lack of lighting.

"Our speed guns are used on a 24/7 basis. The LIDAR guns could not capture photo and video at night, but this is not to say that they are totally useless. Both our LIDAR and radar guns can still be used to detect overspeeding at night. Upon detection, our enforcers immediately apprehend the vehicle under the "contact" apprehension style that we have been implementing as of late," clarified the MMDA Head.

"Our five speed guns are being used on a 24/7 basis. During the day, we can record photos and videos of errant vehicles. During the night, we can detect overspeeding vehicles and immediately apprehend them. Either way, we are implementing the "contact" policy so that these speeders could immediately be imposed appropriate fines and penalties," he added.

Tolentino further clarified other erroneous reports emanating from the same House Committee hearing that with only five speed guns, the MMDA could apprehend only five overspeeding vehicles along Commonwealth Avenue at a time.

"This is plain and simply wrong," he stressed. "The LIDAR can shoot, measure and capture as many vehicles as the operator can target, with no wait time. It would take about six seconds per vehicle. So in 1 minute, the operator can capture 10 vehicles, 600 in an hour, if all vehicles within the operator's sights are overspeeding. All those vehicles can apprehend either via no contact or via contact."

The MMDA Chairman explained that under contact apprehension, MMDA speed gun operators work with a partner who radios the plate number of overspeeders to the MMDA enforcers who immediately apprehend the vehicle.

Tolentino also clarified that each speed gun costs Php450,000.00, not Php 200,000.00 as reportedly stated by Cabanilla.

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MAY 25, 2011

MMDA welcomes visiting Governor of Gyeong-Gi, South Korea

A 27-man delegation from the metropolitan government of Gyeong-Gi in South Korea, led by Gov. Kim Moon-Soo, are arriving tomorrow (May 26) in the country to foster the city-to-city sisterhood and cooperation between the South Korean province and local executives of Metro Manila, Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced today.

Tolentino said the three-day official visit of the Gyeong-Gi delegation here in Metro Manila firms up the collaborative efforts of both governments to strengthen ties and close cooperation, share best practices, promote cultural understanding and development between the two important capital regions in Asia, among other things.

"Preparations are being done with enthusiasm by the MMDA and local executives to ensure a conducive, fruitful and memorable visit by Gov. Kim and his delegates because this is the very first time that Metro Manila as a venue is hosting the event to manifest our leadership's equivocal commitment and support to the ideals of economic cooperation, urban development and renewal, and traffic and transport management," he said.

Gov. Kim's visit reciprocates the MMDA chairman's official visit last February to the South Korean province, where the capital city of Seoul is located. He said he had learned much from the Gyeong-Gi government, especially in various aspects of regional administration, including urban planning, transportation and environmental issues.

While in Gyeong-Gi, Tolentino also signed a memorandum of understanding with Gov. Kim to advance both metropolitan regions' cooperation and competitiveness for future national development.

The Gyeong-Gi delegation's three-day (May 26-May 28) working itinerary in Metro Manila includes a courtesy call on Tolentino at the MMDA headquarters, signing of a sisterhood contract, courtesy call to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, whistle stop at the Bureau of Immigration office in Intramuros, Manila, and courtesy calls on Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Before departure to South Korea, Governor Kim and Chairman Tolentino will spearhead a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Monument in Luneta and a visit to the Samsung Electronics plant in Calamba, Laguna.

Gyeong-Gi is the seat of the political government of South Korea and the most populous. As the fastest growing regional economy in Korea, it is home to world-leading firms such as Samsung, LG Electronics and Hyundai-Kia. It also accounts for one-fifth of the country's exports and Gross Domestic Product.

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MAY 20, 2011

Inter-Agency Inspection of Bus Terminals Kicks off Today

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today led the inter-agency inspection of bus terminals in Quezon City to check the working conditions of the drivers.

Representatives from the MMDA, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) conducted the initial inspection at the terminal of Rainbow Express Bus Company located at Commonwealth Avenue.

"The purpose of this inspection is to determine if the bus companies are complying with the existing Labor Code of the Philippines. It is intended to protect the interests of the workers in the transport sector, particularly the drivers and conductors," Tolentino said.

Workers of the bus company were interviewed by DOLE representatives with regards to their salary rates, benefit packages, and occupational safety.

According to Benjo Benavides of DOLE, the ocular inspection is in fulfillment of their mandate to ensure that all workers are aptly paid and protected as provided for in the Labor Code.

A notice of inspection report indicating violations observed by DOLE officials shall be issued to the bus companies. They will be given ample time to rectify their errors.

The inspection is a result of the MMDA's proposal to bus operators to give drivers and conductors fixed monthly salaries and other non-wage benefits provided for by law, instead of the prevalent commission basis being practiced by bus operators.

"It is important for the drivers to be properly informed and educated on the long-term benefits of what we are proposing, for them to be given fixed salaries and other packages. In the long run, they will be getting more and they will be assured of pension when they retire," Tolentino pointed out.

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MAY 19, 2011

MMDA traffic enforcer hit by speedster along Commonwealth Avenue

A traffic enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) was sideswiped by an overspeeding jeepney earlier this morning along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

Edwin Lamban, member of the agency's Task Force Lawin, sustained injuries after being hit by a jeepney with license plate NXS - 265 driven by Frederick Salio at around 8:30 in the morning.

MMDA enforcers flagged down Salio for violating the 60-kilometer per hour speed limit, but instead of stopping, he raced off towards the Litex area, prompting Lamban to go after him aboard his service motorcycle.

"It is very apparent here that reckless drivers no longer respect the law, and anybody can be victims of their irresponsibility and carelessness," Tolentino said.

Salio, who was apprehended immediately after the incident, will be charged with evading arrest and reckless imprudence resulting to physical injury. His jeepney was impounded.

Tolentino appealed to the public to strictly obey traffic rules to avoid road mishaps.

"We are consistently coming up with solutions to address the traffic problem in Metro Manila, with road safety as our foremost consideration, for both pedestrian and motorists. However, no amount of enforcement and innovation will help if the drivers themselves will ignore and disobey traffic rules and disregard traffic enforcers. Road discipline is a must for everybody," Tolentino stressed.

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MAY 18, 2011

MMDA, LTFRB, DOLE Meet with Bus Operators; Road Safety Measures Pushed

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and bus companies plying Commonwealth Avenue today agreed on measures to promote road safety along the 12.4-kilometer highway.

To start it off, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said a composite team will be formed to conduct an ocular inspection of bus terminals in Metro Manila to ensure that the companies comply with standards set by the Labor Code, including the occupational health and safety conditions of its employees.

The inspection will start on Friday. The inspection teams will be composed of members of the MMDA, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

"We will see the actual situations in the bus terminals and garages of bus companies to get a clear picture of the working conditions of their employees, in particular drivers and conductors," Tolentino told bus operators during a dialogue held at Dulcinea restaurant in Quezon City this morning.

Also in the dialogue were LTFRB Chairman Nelson Laluces and Undersecretary Lourdes Transmonte of DOLE's Labor Standards and Social Protection.

Tolentino said each bus firm will be inspected on its compliance with Labor laws, especially on workers' welfare and salary rates. Erring bus operators will be issued Notices of Violation and will be given sufficient time to rectify their infractions.

For her part, Trasmonte said they will also check the bus firm's employment records to determine if the company adheres to proper recruitment process.

The inspection was an offshoot of the MMDA's proposal to bus operators to grant drivers and conductors fixed monthly salaries and non-wage benefits instead of the commission basis bus companies are practicing at present.

Transportation officials argued that providing bus drivers and conductors guaranteed basic pay will eliminate fierce competition to get more passengers, which oftentimes result to overspeeding and other constant and flagrant violations of traffic regulations among the bus drivers.

During this morning's dialogue, the MMDA required bus operators to submit until Tuesday their respective company policies so the agency would know if they conform to government regulations concerning road safety and discipline.

Tolentino said it is the responsibility of bus operators to police their own ranks.

"We don't want to come to the point that we will use an iron hand just to compel you to discipline your own drivers. It is your primary duty to always instill in their minds the value of road discipline and respect to other motorists, their passengers, and pedestrians," the MMDA chief told bus operators.

Also initially agreed during the dialogue was the conduct of a study to determine the viability of regularizing at least 20 percent of the bus companies' workforce, which is set forth under the Labor Code.

As regular employees, bus drivers will be entitled to fixed monthly pay, overtime wages and non-wage benefits such as membership to Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig, Tolentino said.

Bus operators said they are open to the idea of working with the MMDA, DOLE, and LTFRB to discuss the matter extensively.

Also discussed was the idea of confiscating the driver's license of bus drivers involved in numerous major road accidents, and the suspension or revocation of the bus company's franchises.

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MAY 11, 2011

MMDA to Inaugurate New AMA-South Super Highway Footbridge

Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will lead tomorrow's inauguration of the newly-constructed footbridge along South Super Highway in Makati City.

The footbridge, located in front of AMA College, was constructed in response to the request of the city government of Makati and the students of AMA College, and is designed to enhance pedestrian safety and improve travel speed.

According to Tolentino, a more efficient traffic flow is expected with the completion of the footbridge, as it will reduce, if not totally eliminate, pedestrian - vehicle conflicts which cause accidents.

The total length of the structure is 46.49 meters; its width is 2.4 meters, with two stairs.

Its construction started on February 23, and was completed on April 30. The total contract cost is P7, 618,248.00 which was sourced from the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The footbridge is expected to benefit around 6,200 pedestrians daily.

"We hope that the pedestrians will use the footbridge for their safety and convenience, which is our foremost concern," Tolentino said.

Expected to attend the ceremony tomorrow at 9 a.m. are Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, AMA Education System Chairman Ambassador Amable Aguiluz, MMDA officials, and other stakeholders.

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MAY 11, 2011

Outdoor Advertisers Ink Pact with MMDA; Pledge to Cooperate on Billboard Drive

An outdoor advertising group has pledged its cooperation to the ongoing billboard campaign of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), adding to the increasing public support the agency has been gaining since the start of the renewed crackdown against structurally unsafe billboards.

On Tuesday, the Makati-based Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the MMDA signifying the organization's active participation in the agency's mandate to regulate commercial billboards along the major roads of Metro Manila.

"We are grateful that OOAP has come forward to actually help us in this endeavor. This program will have a greater impact if all advertisers and billboard operators cooperate with us," MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

He reiterated that the billboard drive is not meant to put advertisers out of business but to safeguard public safety by implementing the provisions of the National Building Code (NBC).

The MOA was signed by MMDA-Traffic Engineering Center (TEC) and Traffic Discipline Office officer-in-charge Neomie Recio, acting on behalf of the Chairman, and OAAP President Edberto Acosta.

With over a hundred members, OOAP is an umbrella organization of outdoor advertisers that serves as the self-regulatory body for outdoor advertising practitioners nationwide.

Under the MOA, OAAP agreed to comply with the terms and conditions of the MMDA's audit and inspection of billboards along Edsa, which started on May 4.

This includes the rolling down of advertisements on billboard structures to be inspected. If the billboard owner is present during the inspection to receive the Notice of Violation, the advertising sign will be rolled back up, except in cases that the operator has no permit.

The Notice of Violation requires billboard operators to rectify their violations within 15 days; otherwise, the subject billboard will be permanently dismantled by the MMDA.

As for OAAP, the group vowed to assist MMDA to inform its member-advertisers to secure their Notice of Violations and Checklist of Violations from the MMDA Billboard Clearance Office.

"OAAP will continue working with the MMDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on the current issue on billboards and likewise continues to coordinate with other government agencies and other sectors of the society," Acosta said.

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MAY 10, 2011

MMDA Aids in Distribution of "Public Transport Assistance" (PTAP) Cards

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel led by Deputy Chairman Alex Cabanilla, helped out in the distribution of "Public Transport Assistance" (PTAP) or Pantawid Pasada cards to drivers of public utility jeepneys at Camp Crame, Quezon City last week.

The MMDA personnel from the agency's Task Force Kalayaan, Edsa Traffic Management Zone and mobile and rescue teams formed part of an inter-agency distribution teams composed of their counterparts from the Department of National Defense and Philippine National Police who assisted the Department of Energy in maintaining peace and order in the distribution of PTAP cards to 3,000 jeepney drivers at the Camp Crame distribution site.

The distribution teams have been directed to ensure a safe and orderly disbursement of 3,000 Pantawid Pasada cards daily from May 2 to May 31, 2011 to qualified jeepney drivers as the government's stop-gap targeted relief to the public transport sector in a bid to cushion the impact of high fuel prices on the riding and commuting public.

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MAY 10, 2011

MMDA Partners with Philippine College of Surgeons for Disaster Preparedness

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has joined hands with the Philippine College of Surgeons - Metro Manila Chapter (PCS-MMC) to foster a more skillful approach to its disaster preparedness programs.

Chairman Francis Tolentino and PCS-MMC President Dr. Dexter Aison signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) today to strengthen the alliance of the two parties' mandates to promote public safety and preparedness during times of calamities.

"We are thankful for the support given to us by PCS-MMC. Our basic objective in partnering with them is to enhance the professional development and training of our personnel on rescue operations, and at the same time improve public health and safety awareness," Tolentino said.

Under the MOA, the PCS-MMC, a recognized lead organization concerned with surgery-related issues composed of 1,208 fellows, shall continuously train MMDA traffic enforcers and other field personnel on Basic Life Support and assist the agency in the event of road accidents.

Further, the PCS-MMC shall coordinate with the Authority with regards to their activities and projects related to disaster preparedness in Metro Manila.

The MMDA, for its part, shall encourage its traffic enforcers to request assistance from duly identified PCS-MMC members on the road in trauma management in the event of disaster in the metropolis.

As part of the MOA, the MMDA will issue numbered PCS-MMC/MMDA stickers to PCS-MMC members at a reasonable cost so that they will be properly identified. They will be required to submit copies of their car registrations, and physician licenses of PCS-MMC fellow - members.

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MAY 9, 2011

MMDA's "Operation Roll Down, Baby" to Continue; 46 Billboard Advertisements Removed

There will be no letup in "Operation Roll Down, Baby," the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) renewed crackdown against unsafe and illegally-constructed billboards, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said today.

Forty-six advertisements on billboards found to be violating the National Building Code were taken down by agency personnel from May 4 to 6, when the campaign was launched, Tolentino said.

"'Operation Roll Down, Baby' will be intensified now that the rainy season has started. We will inspect all billboards along Edsa and other major thoroughfares so we could identify and remove those that are in great risk of collapsing in times of bad weather," the MMDA chief said.

On the northbound lane of Edsa, MMDA workers have taken down 20 billboard advertisements while six were voluntarily removed by its owners.

Along the southbound lane, 26 advertisements have so far been removed.

Operators of rolled down billboard advertisements found to have not complied with the National Building Code requirements had been issued notices of violation where they were given 15 days to do the necessary corrective measures.

Should they fail to do so, the entire steel structural frames will then be dismantled by the MMDA.

Tolentino said the most common violation incurred by the billboard advertisers is the easement requirements - five-meter front setback from the property line and the three-meter side and rear setback along Edsa.

He explained that the easement requirements are intended to ensure that billboard frames are set back from power lines, do not obstruct the natural view of landscape nor become traffic hazards. Setback requirements also minimize damage should the billboards topple or collapse.

Several billboards were also oversized, such as the 500-square meter advertisement of a telecommunications firm fronting the MMDA office at the corner of Edsa and Orense Street in Makati City.

Billboard operators who have violations may voluntary roll down their advertisements within 24 hours; otherwise the MMDA would do the roll-down, Tolentino added.

Through a memorandum of agreement signed last November, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) transferred the billboard monitoring to MMDA, effectively delegating to the agency the authority to implement the National Building Code provisions concerning outdoor advertisement within Metro Manila.

"This is a holistic tandem between DPWH, MMDA, and the local government units. We are not against billboards. We only want the billboards to conform with safety standards and the law," Tolentino said.

In the states of Nevada, Maine, and Hawaii, and in Sao Paolo, Brazil, as well as in Athens, Greece, billboards are totally outlawed. Tolentino said he does not want to do this in Metro Manila.

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MAY 4, 2011

MMDA Intensifies Campaign Against Non-compliant Billboards

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today started its no-nonsense campaign against billboards along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) found to be violating standards set in the National Building Code or local government ordinances.

A significant number of billboards were either rolled up or down during the inspection led by Chairman Francis Tolentino.

The huge tarpaulin billboard beside the MMDA office in Makati City was the first to be rolled down, immediately followed by the dismantling of damaged billboard structures at the Laperal Compound which was razed in a fire that occurred two weeks ago. Two more tarpaulin billboards along Edsa-Pasay were to follow.

"For a long period of time, some outdoor billboard operators have cluttered aerially our urban landscape with a hodgepodge of commercialism and visual pollution, with impunity, that's why we have to take action to protect the environment, and for public safety," Tolentino said.

The MMDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) August last year, deputizing the MMDA to strictly monitor, inspect, and implement the rules and regulations governing outdoor advertising or billboards in accordance with the National Building Code.

According to the MOA, the MMDA shall now issue clearances for billboards, prior to the issuance of permits by DPWH District Offices.

"Our primary concern here is public safety, especially during earthquakes. Now is the proper time to make a significant step to control the proliferation of non-compliant billboards which are hazardous to lives and property," Tolentino said.

Two 50-men teams were deployed to the Balintawak and Pasay areas to conduct operations on both the northbound and southbound directions of Edsa.

Engineers from DPWH and the LGUs concerned such as the cities of Pasay, Mandaluyong, and Quezon City joined the operations.

The Authority also painted corresponding numbers to all billboards to serve as inventory and to ensure easy tracking in the future.

In the spirit of transparency, the MMDA yesterday met with billboard operators and advertiser groups to notify and warn them of today's operations.

Some of the major players in the outdoor advertising industry pledged their support for the undertaking and vowed to voluntary police their own.

Operators or agencies of non-compliant billboards are given fifteen days to rectify their violations.

The operations will also cover the billboards along other major thoroughfares such as C-5, Roxas Boulevard, and Osmeña Highway.

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MAY 2, 2011

MMDA Okays Plans for Repair and Rehabilitation of Osmeña Flyover

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has given the green light to the proposed repair and rehabilitation of the Osmeña Flyover in Makati City.

Repair and rehabilitation works, however, will start after the fabrication and installation of the necessary traffic signages along the alternate routes by its contractor Towking Construction.

This was the condition set by Chairman Francis Tolentino.

"The motorists need to be properly informed about the project beforehand so that they will not be greatly inconvenienced," Tolentino said.

The project is an undertaking of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which had asked for the necessary traffic clearance from the Authority.

According to the MMDA Chief, the project will undoubtedly cause traffic congestion, but nonetheless, he gave the go-signal for it because of the good it can bring in the long haul.

"The public needs to understand that the structure badly needs repair because it was built and used for almost thirty years now, and definitely, it is no longer safe as it was before. To delay its repair poses greater damage, especially during earthquakes," Tolentino said.

The project will be implemented in two stages and will require the closure of one direction of the 4-lane, 2-direction flyover while undergoing repair/rehabilitation works and allowing the other direction to remain open but on a 2-lane, 2-way traffic scheme.

Some of the vehicles traversing Osmeña Highway will be diverted and required to use the at-grade section of the highway (road beside the flyover) in crossing Buendia Avenue.

Further, the DPWH has mapped out a traffic re-routing plan to ensure that the flow of traffic will not be severely affected by the repair/rehabilitation works. (please see attached)

The MMDA for its part will continue to deploy the usual number of enforcers assigned to the area.

"We will deploy additional traffic enforcers if and only when needed," Tolentino said.

The project duration is 120 calendar days, but DPWH and the contractor said they will try to finish it by 90 calendar days.


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APRIL 29, 2011

MMDA Firms Up Plans with NCRPO and NCRCOM for Labor Day Rallies

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) strengthens its partnership with the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) and Armed Forces of the Philippines - National Capital Region Command (AFP-NCRCOM) for the Labor Day celebrations on May 1.

Chairman Francis Tolentino today met with officials from the NCRPO and AFP-NCRCOM to discuss the contingency measures to be implemented on Labor Day to ensure a peaceful commemoration of the annual event on Sunday.

"I have instructed the agency's Traffic Discipline Office to deploy by 6 a.m. enough enforcers to critical areas such as Mendiola, Liwasang Bonifacio, and Welcome Rotonda to make sure that traffic flow remains unhampered," Tolentino said.

For their part, 6,000 policemen from the NCRPO and 400 personnel from the AFP-NCRCOM will be deployed in the metropolis to guarantee a peaceful commemoration of Labor Day.

Meanwhile, Tolentino advised labor groups to secure rally permits from the local government units concerned and subsequently submit them to the NCRPO and MMDA, in accordance with Batas Pambansa Blg. 880.

"We hope that this year's activities would be peaceful as we fully recognize the rights of the labor groups and working men to celebrate Labor Day as enshrined in international conventions, and air their grievances," Tolentino added.

According to the MMDA chief, traffic enforcers will also be deployed to various roads leading to churches and airports which must remain unobstructed.

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APRIL 28, 2011

The EDSA Project: Featuring Large-scale Paintings of Renowned Filipino Artists

The walls and flyover pillars of the 28-kilometer Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (Edsa) will soon be dotted with large-scale paintings of 10 renowned artists in the country that aims to provide a respite from the drab surroundings of smoke-belching vehicles and billboards, and a refreshing contrast that can help commuters and motorists calm down when they're stuck in traffic.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), a leading paint manufacturing company, top-rate science and art have put together an urban renewal initiative, dubbed as the Edsa Project, that will enable not only huge artworks to be posted on eight strategic locations along Metro Manila's main road artery but will also lessen air pollution through the use of a local breakthrough air-cleaning paint as well.

This year-long Edsa Project will be launched on May 7, 2011 at Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City to coincide with village's Community Day celebration..

The artists will compose eight artworks and execute them with the Knox-Out paint by Boysen, a paint that uses sunlight to transform poisons in the air, particularly nitrogen oxide, into a harmless residue that is easily washed away by rain .

Studies have shown that at least two million vehicles traverse Edsa daily, 200,000 of which on both north and south bound directions at a given time especially during peak hours, and many times over the pollution levels of other busiest major cities in the world.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that with this urban renewal scheme, the struggle for a healthy environment is now scaled up to a level with palpable and visual impact.

"Motorists, commuters and pedestrians, while driving on or walking along Edsa, will be literally connected to the project benefits. Without needing to illustrate an environmentalist advocacy, the artworks will instead chemically embody a fresh anti-pollution strategy," Tolentino said.

For her part, MMDA General Manager Corazon Tecson-Jimenez, who is also the vice-chairman of the Edsa Project, said the program involves 10 cutting-edge and mostly foreign-based Filipino artists, including two Asian artists, who have been selected by Tao Inc., a firm specializing in curatorship and cultural analysis for urban planning, for their virtuosity and interest in social issues, while at the same time maintaining elegance and wit.

They are Jose Tence Ruiz, Neal Oshima, Asuncion Imperial, Damiene Anne, Virgilio Aviado, Brisbane-based Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, the art department of the advertising agency TBWA, Singaporean Erika Tan and Finnish architect Tapio Snellman.

Ruiz' complex and tattoo-like painting is currently being executed on the Edsa-Barangay San Lorenzo Village wall.

Each huge artwork of these artists will cover 1,000 square meters and will be sequentially executed on Edsa's high walls, flyover pillars, undergirdings and MRT and LRT walls and pillars, with one art exhibit every one-and-a half months starting May 7, this year until early next year.

Tolentino said that at a total of 8,000 square meters size coverage of the proposed eight artworks, the toxins in the exhaust of 80,000 cars and public utility vehicles can be neutralized by the painted surfaces for three to five years.

The target sites for the execution of the Edsa project include Bgy. San Lorenzo to Mantrade bus stop, southbound, Edsa-Ortigas interchange pillars, wall from Rockwell going to Buendia, Ayala, southbound, LRT pillars from Monumento to Balintawak Cloverleaf to Muñoz, MRT Boni Ave. station before reaching Guadalupe bridge, southbound, MRT Taft station walls and cylindrical walls of the Tramo flyover, MRT wall from from GMA Kamuning station to Quezon Ave. station, northbound, and both ends of Cubao-Aurora underpass, all along Edsa.

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APRIL 18, 2011

MMDA Conducts Pabasa

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) joins the entire Christian community in the observance of Lent by holding the Way of the Cross and the traditional "Pabasa" starting Holy Monday (April 18).

Immediately after the flag raising ceremony, employees from the agency's various departments will participate on the Way of the Cross, with each of the 14 stations strategically located within the immediate vicinity of the MMDA office.

"Despite our busy work schedules, we have to profess our faith and practice our religion, to show that we are thankful for all the blessings we have been receiving all-year round," Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

Meanwhile, the "Pabasa" or the reading of the entire passion of Christ, will commence at the MMDA lobby at 9 a.m. on Monday and will run continuously, on 24-hour basis, until 12 midnight of Holy Wednesday.

"Pabasa" readers, mostly street sweepers, will be joined by 15 employees from different units which are selected by the Administrative Services department, every hour on rotation.

Tolentino encourages all employees to participate on the said religious activity.

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APRIL 15, 2011

Civil Engineers to Help MMDA and Metro Mayors in Earthquake Preparedness Efforts

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the seventeen mayors of Metro Manila agreed to tie up with the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) to address earthquake preparedness and risk reduction in the National Capital Region.

This was agreed upon during the regular meeting of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the policy-making body of the MMDA, held at the Parañaque City Hall yesterday.

Engineers from PICE, a non-government organization, have volunteered to conduct metro-wide inspections of various buildings and structures to assess their structural soundness and safety.

According to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, the partnership is a most welcome development in the midst of a heightened concern over the vulnerabilities of the region in case of an earthquake.

"While there are preparations being undertaken by various sectors including the local government units (LGUs) to mitigate the damages of a possible earthquake, it is also essential to conduct serious inspections of buildings so we can identify and correct the deficiencies before it's too late," Tolentino said.

Dr. Benito Pacheco, National President of PICE, said their group will also come up with detailed and viable proposals on how they can assist the government in reducing the dangers posed by poorly-built and ill-maintained residential structures in Metro Manila.

The MMDA recently launched "Oplan Metro Yakal" which includes contingency measures such as reorientation and upgrading of disaster response skills and reassessment of MMDA and volunteer rescue teams in close coordination with the LGUs.

Present in the MMC meeting were Mayors Florencio Bernabe, Jr. of Parañaque City, Aldrin San Pedro of Muntinlupa, Vergel Aguilar of Las Piñas, Jaime Medina of the Municipality of Pateros, Caloocan Vice Mayor and concurrent President of the Vice Mayor's League of the Philippines Edgardo Erice, Councilor's League of the Philippines President Serafin Bernardino, and representatives from the various cities. Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Director Renato Solidum, Jr. of the Phililppine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology also attended the meeting.

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APRIL 12, 2011

Number Coding Lifted from Holy Tuesday (April 19) to Good Friday (April 22), MMDA Advises Motorists to Avoid EDSA and Take Alternate Routes

The number coding or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) will be lifted starting Holy Tuesday, April 19, up to Good Friday, April 22.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said the four-day suspension of UVVRP will provide motorists an unhampered mobility while going to and from the provinces during the Lenten season.

"We're also expecting that public transport terminals will have their hands full accommodating thousands of commuters. By allowing the public to freely use their vehicles, this will help lessen the strain on them," Tolentino said.

Meanwhile, Tolentino advised the public to avoid Edsa as much as possible and instead use Mabuhay Lanes, a series of alternate routes the agency has opened last December.

  • The Mabuhay lanes start at both North and South entry points of EDSA. For northbound motorists going south, they may use McArthur Highway, right turn to Samson Road, C-4/Letre, R-10, A. Bonifacio, Roxas Boulevard to destination.
  • Motorists coming from the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) can exit at various points, most importantly at the newly constructed Mindanao Avenue access ramp.
  • From South to North, the Mabuhay lanes start at Coastal Road and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
During Holy Week, motorists may use the following alternate routes:

To North of Luzon
  • Take C-5 Road to QMC then right to Visayas Avenue, then left to Congressional Ave., then right to Mindanao Avenue, then take Mindanao-NLEX link to destination, and vice versa;
  • Take C-5 to QMC then right to North Avenue, right to Mindanao Avenue, then the Mindanao-NLEX link to destination
South of Luzon

Rizal province:
  • from Bicutan interchange take DR A. Santos Avenue then straight ahead to C-6 to destination, and vice versa
Cavite:
  • from South Superhighway take South Station Exit then straight ahead and take Daang Hari to destination
Tagaytay:
  • from South Superhighway take Sta. Rosa Exit or Greenfield Exit
The MMDA, in coordination with various agencies, has created Task Force M.A.S.S. (Metro Alalay Semana Santa) to ensure the safe and convenient movement of motorists and commuters during the Holy Week, particularly in areas identified as convergence points of travelers such as provincial bus terminals, airports, and seaports.

The Task Force, composed of about 1,000 traffic enforcers, is headed by Assistant General Manager for Operation Emerson Carlos.

On Holy Monday, April 18, up to Holy Wednesday, April 20, MMDA traffic enforcers will be posted at transport terminals and traffic choke points , and on popular churches and pilgrimages on Maundy Thursday, April 21, and good Friday, April 22.

Tolentino said Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG) and Parking Discipline Office (PDO) teams of the MMDA will assist traffic enforcers in managing traffic in major roads and critical areas.

With this year's Holy Week coinciding with the school summer break, Tolentino said they are expecting a higher number of vacationers, which will result to traffic congestion at exit points of Metro Manila and at land, sea, and air transport terminals.

The MMDA chief assured that the agency's traffic personnel will be on hand to assist motorists and commuters. The public can also call Metrobase Hotline 136 for periodic traffic updates and requests for assistance.

The MMDA's Facebook and Twitter account will be also be open 24/7 during the Holy Week to accept and respond to inquiries.


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APRIL 11, 2011

MMDA Bares Metro Alalay Semana Santa 2011

As part of its Metro Alalay Semana Santa, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will deploy more than 1,000 traffic enforcers starting Holy Wednesday (April 20) to man the major thoroughfares, particularly Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) and the other exit points of Metro Manila.

According to Chairman Francis Tolentino, majority of the traffic personnel will be assigned to the roads leading to provincial bus terminals and other vital installations such as the airports and seaports to guarantee the safety of thousands of commuters expected to trek to the suburbs and provinces to take advantage of the long holiday.

"I have declared a no day-off and no absent policy for all our traffic personnel, particularly on April 20, 21, 24, and 25, when traffic is expected to be congested," Tolentino said.

The operations of the Traffic Discipline Office (TDO), in close coordination with the local government units, will concentrate on crucial areas and perennial traffic choke points such as Balintawak, McArthur Highway, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Sumulong Highway, Marcos Highway, Coastal Road, Roxas Boulevard, Alabang, Pasay, and Cubao, as well as within the vicinities of famous churches.

Further, the Armed Forces of the Philippines committed at least thirty personnel to assist the agency during the week-long observance of Lent.

Tolentino said that the "nose in nose out" policy, which prohibits bus drivers to maneuver their vehicles along Edsa, will be strictly enforced on bus terminals, Also, they are not allowed to load and unload outside their respective terminals.

The MMDA Roadside Emergency Group will likewise be on standby to provide roadside emergency service and assistance to the public.

Tolentino appealed to the public to plan their trips accordingly and to cooperate with the traffic enforcers and other authorities in order to guarantee a safe, convenient, and meaningful celebration of Lent.

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APRIL 11, 2011

MMDA Posts Photos of Speedsters on the Web

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started posting photos of vehicles caught violating the 60 kilometer-per-hour (kph) speed limit along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on its official website www.mmda.gov.ph.

According to Chairman Francis Tolentino, the move aims to remind the public that the agency is serious in implementing the speed limit along Commonwealth Avenue.

"Our campaign against speedsters will have no let-up. We will continue going after violators for the protection and safety of the public, specifically the pedestrians and commuters," Tolentino said.

The MMDA has no difficulty posting the photos of overspeeding motorists since images of the vehicles of violators are easily captured on camera and will be issued traffic violation receipts through the agency's No Physical Contact Apprehension policy.

Since the implementation of the speed limit along Commonwealth Avenue, there has been a significant reduction in fatalities and major vehicular accidents.

To date, more than 7,000 were caught on camera and have been sent summons for overspeeding.

On January 25, the agency strictly enforced the 60-kph speed limit along Commonwealth Avenue, tagged as a "killer highway", in a bid to minimize the spate of deadly road accidents that have taken place in the 12.4-kilometer, 18-lane thoroughfare.

Tolentino said the agency is also considering implementing the speed limit along Roxas Boulevard, Macapagal Boulevard, and Osmeña Highway.

"Our traffic experts are conducting thorough studies on the viability of imposing a speed limit along the three other major roads. We are trying to find the best possible solutions to further improve traffic conditions in Metro Manila," Tolentino said.

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APRIL 8, 2011

MMDA Reminds PUV Operators About Implementation of Roof Tagging Scheme

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today reminded public transport operators to strictly follow the prescribed color scheme and measurements in the roof tagging program the agency will be implementing in three months' time.

Tolentino said the MMDA has started distributing to operators of buses, jeepneys, taxicabs, tourist shuttle buses and cargo trucks a leaflet detailing the guidelines of the tagging scheme as provided for under MMDA Resolution No. 11-02, Series of 2011 and Memorandum Circular No. 05-A, Series of 2011.

"Each type of PUV (public utility vehicle) is designated a particular color for easy identification. And the license plates should not be painted haphazardly. These should follow the exact size and where it should be painted," the MMDA chief said.

Under the Resolution, the following background color scheme shall be observed in the tagging or marking of PUVs:

  • Yellow for city buses plying EDSA
  • Orange for city buses not plying EDSA
  • Red for provincial buses plying EDSA
  • Violet for provincial buses not plying EDSA
  • Brown for public utility jeepneys (PUJs)
  • Blue for metered taxis
  • Green for non-metered / Garage Taxi / AUV Taxis
  • Gray or Silver for school buses,
  • Pink for tourist or shuttle buses, and
  • Gold for cargo trucks.
The tag or mark shall be painted horizontally on the front portion of the PUVs' roof measuring 900 mm x 1,200 mm for PUBs / school and tourist buses and cargo trucks.

Meanwhile, the measurement of the tag for PUJs, FX / van-type taxis and sedan-type taxis must be 400 mm x 900 mm.

Further, the license plate number of the PUVs shall be painted over the color template using black paint, except provincial buses, which shall use white paint.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has approved the implementation of the vehicle tagging scheme as a means to track down colorum and out-of-line PUVs and enhance the MMDA's traffic monitoring and surveillance.

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APRIL 3, 2011

MMDA to Implement Roof Tagging Scheme on PUVs

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is set to implement roof tagging on all public utility vehicles (PUVs) in three months time.

The agency issued Memorandum Circular Number 05 that states the guidelines to be followed on the implementation of vehicle tagging pursuant to MMDA Resolution Number 11-02 Series of 2011.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino stressed that the vehicle tagging scheme shall bolster road safety. It would enhance the Authority's efficiency in apprehending colorum vehicles and enforcing the speed limit. To give operators enough time to comply, transport operators shall be given three months after the guidelines have been issued to paint their units.

According to the guidelines, vehicle tagging means the painting of the license plate numbers on the roof, front, back, and two sides of the PUVs using a color scheme for easy classification.

The following background color scheme shall be observed in the tagging or marking of PUVs: Yellow for city buses plying EDSA, Orange for city buses not plying EDSA, Red for provincial buses plying EDSA, Violet for provincial buses not plying EDSA, Brown for public utility jeepneys (PUJs), Blue for metered taxis, Green for non-metered / Garage Taxi / AUV Taxis, Gray or Silver for school buses, Pink for tourist or shuttle buses, and Gold for cargo trucks.

The tag or mark shall be painted horizontally on the front portion of the PUVs' roof measuring 900 mm x 1,200 mm for PUBs / school and tourist buses and cargo trucks. Meanwhile, the measurement of the tag for PUJs, FX / van-type taxis and sedan-type taxis must be 400 mm x 900 mm.

Further, the license plate number of the PUVs shall be painted over the color template using black paint, except provincial buses, which shall use white paint.

"With the implementation of the roof tagging scheme, it will be easier for us to spot traffic violators through our closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras," Tolentino said.

Upon the implementation of the "No Physical Contact Policy", the agency has installed 68 CCTV cameras on strategic locations throughout the metropolis. However, the CCTVs were not able to capture clearly the images / photographs of the license plates of traffic violators because of the cameras' limited visual range.

To address this problem, the Metro Manila Council, MMDA's policy-making body composed of the 17 mayors, approved the roof tagging scheme which is a re-implementation of MMDA Resolution Number 02-27 series of 2002 which authorizes the MMDA to implement vehicle tagging of all registered and franchised PUVs plying the major and secondary roads of Metro Manila.

"We will be very strict with the enforcement of this resolution. Any PUV spotted by our CCTVs violating the scheme shall be considered as operating out-of-line or colorum and shall be meted out appropriate sanctions including the recommendation for cancellation or suspension of franchise to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board," Tolentino pointed out.

Additional 30 CCTV cameras donated by the Department of Transportation and Communications will be installed along the major thoroughfares.

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MARCH 29, 2011

MMDA Bares Contingency Plans for Piston's Projected Protest Action on Thursday

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today bared its contingency measures in the wake of an impending protest action to be staged by transport groups on Thursday.

During an inter-agency meeting held at the MMDA head office, Chairman Francis Tolentino announced the agency is ready to dispatch more than sixty vehicles to provide free transportation to the public in case of a transport paralysis.

"We will provide all the necessary services and manpower to make sure that the commuting public will not be inconvenienced by the protest action," Tolentino said.

The meeting was attended by General Nicanor Bartolome of the Philippine National Police - National Capital Region Police office, Dante Lantin of the Land Transportation Office, Colonel Rene Santos of the Armed Forces of the Philippines National Capital Region Command, Attorney Manuel Iway of the Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board, and local government officials from the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasay, and Quezon City.

Around 200 jeepneys are expected to join the protest caravan which will start at the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC) all the way to Mendiola in Manila.

The MMDA chief called on the motorists to avoid using the main roads from the QCMC to Mendiola through Quezon Avenue as heavy traffic is expected due to the caravan.

According to Tolentino, the following alternate routes to and from the said areas can be used by the public:

West bound, from QCMC right to North Avenue, straight to Edsa, take u-turn slot at SM North, right to West Avenue, right to Del Monte, left to Araneta Avenue, then right to Ma. Clara Street, straight to Andalucia, to destination.

East bound, from Recto straight to Sergio Loyola Street, straight to Matimyas, right to E. Rodriguez Avenue, left to Banawe or straight to Araneta Avenue then straight to Edsa, to destination.

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MARCH 24, 2011

MMDA Chairman to Meet with Advertisers on Billboard Regulation

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino will be meeting with outdoor advertisers tomorrow, March 25, to find measures to stem the uncontrolled proliferation of billboards along Edsa and other major thoroughfares.

Tolentino said this would be the proper time that the MMDA, in coordination with other agencies, takes a decisive step to regulate the installation of roadside commercial billboards, which not only serve as eyesores and cause accidents but are also earthquake hazards.

"Our objective in meeting with the advertisers is to come up with a win-win solution to address the problem without unnecessarily affecting their business operations. Our main concern here is the safety of the public, especially during calamities such as earthquakes," Tolentino said.

Moreover, the MMDA chief added the Authority will be updating the various associations of billboard advertisers regarding government regulations and policies on advertising billboards.

Invited at the 1:30 pm meeting tomorrow are officials of Ad Standards Council, Inc. (ASC), Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA), Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As), and the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP).

After a series of inter-agency meetings with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and congressional hearings on billboard regulations, the MMDA said it would be dismantling poorly constructed billboards that are earthquake hazards.

Tolentino cited as an example the typhoon Milenyo in 2006 that toppled trees and billboards in Metro Manila, causing damages to lives and property.

Citing a 2007 study of the Brunel University West London, Tolentino also said roadside advertising presents a real danger to driving safety, with conservative estimates putting external distractions responsible for up to 10 percent of all road accidents.

"We're only talking here of the bad effects of billboards to road safety. Billboards also have negative environmental effects," the MMDA chief said.

Stationary billboards, he said, are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coverings, such as tarpaulins, which generate significant wastes and add on to the limited space in landfills and dumpsites.

These billboard materials are also non-biodegrable and non-recyclable, which are highly detrimental to the environment, Tolentino added.

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MARCH 22, 2011

MMDA and Metro Spouses Intensify Urban Renewal Program

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has partnered with the Metro Manila Mayors Spouses Foundation, Inc. (MMMSFI) to promote a more effective implementation of its urban renewal program "Metro Ko, Love Ko."

The MMDA, through General Manager Corazon Jimenez, and MMMFSI President Purificacion Echiverri signed on Friday (March 18) a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formally strengthening the two parties' cooperation in the metro-wide implementation of the agency's flagship facelift program.

"We laud the MMMSFI for being a close partner of the MMDA in the Metro Ko, Love Ko campaign. This will be the start of an active partnership. Through the mayors' spouses, the MMDA is assured of the all-out support of the 17 local government units of Metro Manila," MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

Jimenez represented the MMDA in the MOU signing held at the MMDA office last Friday.

Under the MOU, the MMMSFI, a non-profit organization of the spouses of Metro Manila mayors, shall be the organic linkage and resource support network of the MMDA for reaching out more effectively to the LGUs towards a pro-active and sustained implementation of Metro Ko, Love Ko.

Tolentino said the MOU seeks to tap the MMMSFI in the localized implementation of Metro Ko, Love Ko in each of the 17 LGUs in Metro Manila. The MMMSFI "shall endeavor to consolidate, coordinate and generate resources" for projects and activities related to Metro Ko, Love Ko campaign.

The MMDA, on other hand, shall maintain oversight functions over the activities and projects of the MMMSFI related to the campaign.

"Our basic objective in partnering with the MMMSFI is to have a participatory consultative and proactive approach towards achieving sustainability in the implementation of our Metro Ko, Love Ko program," Tolentino said.

Initially launched as an anti-littering advocacy campaign, Metro Ko, Love Ko has expanded to include the seven mandated functions of the MMDA - development planning, traffic and transport management, solid waste disposal and management, flood control and sewerage; urban renewal, zoning and land use planning; health and sanitation, and public safety.

One of the projects under the Metro Ko, Love Ko is the Lingap sa Barangay, which the MMDA started last September to help Metro Manila barangays clean up their environment.

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MARCH 17, 2011

MMDA Chairman Contemplates Removing Giant EDSA Billboards as Quake Hazards

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino is considering the option of dismantling billboards along EDSA which are considered as earthquake hazards.

"It is well-accepted that billboards, to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters must be well-anchored and have sufficient lateral support," said the Chairman, citing a US Federal Emergency Management Agency Manual on Earthquake Hazard Mitigation for Non-Structural Elements published in 2005.

The MMDA head cited the example of Typhoon Milenyo which hit Metro Manila in 2006, toppling trees and billboards which led to loss of lives and property.

"Poorly constructed billboards are hazardous. They are public nuisances that should be abated. We will review the integrity of these structures and if they fail to comply with legal standards, we will dismantle," he added.

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MARCH 12, 2011

MMDA Fires Errant Employee

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today ordered the dismissal from the service of four members of the agency's Metropolitan Social Services Office (MSSO) who figured in a vehicular accident in Mandaluyong City while driving an MMDA service vehicle under the influence of liquor.

From Cambridge, Massachusetts where he was attending a two-day seminar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tolentino also ordered the filing of administrative charges against the fifth member of the MSSO-Street Dweller Care Unit (SDCU) team whom police have arrested for injuring a motorcycle rider.

Ordered terminated immediately were job-order employees Manuel Patriarca, Ramuel Alegre, Orlando Quirabu, and Jaime Equia. Jaime Vergara, on the other hand, will have to go through dismissal proceedings on account of his being a regular employee.

All five have been charged with reckless imprudence resulting to physical injuries and resistance and disobedience upon an agent or person in authority before the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor's Office.

"Their actions discredit the Authority, and they should be held accountable. Such acts cannot be tolerated," Tolentino said.

The incident took place on March 6 at about 2:30 pm while the SDCU Team were on their way back to MMDA headquarters in Makati City from the Jose Fabella Center of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Mandaluyong City.

All five MMDA employees have posted bail and are due for arraignment for the charges on March 29.

The Mandaluyong City Prosecutor, meanwhile, set the preliminary investigation of the serious physical injury charges on March 15.

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MARCH 9, 2011

Lady Bus Drivers To Formally Graduate From TESDA Driving Course on Monday

Thirteen lady bus drivers will formally graduate on Monday, March 14, from an extensive driving course conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and facilitated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The 13 graduates, out of an initial batch of 31, will receive their TESDA Certificates qualifying them as professional drivers of bus, straight trucks and trailer trucks.

"We are proud to present our first batch of lady bus drivers that completed and passed a series of training and competency tests. They are as competent as their professional male counterparts," MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

TESDA Secretary General Joel Villanueva will also be present at the simple rites to be held at the MMDA grounds in Makati City at 8 am.

The 13 successful graduates are Ma. Fresa Repomanta, 44; Salve Canita, 46; Olivia Pabriga, 52; Edbeth Gan, 35; Leonila Bathan, 43; Rosemarie Iligan, 50; Janet Mendez, 40; Yolanda Blanco, 51; Jennifer Javier, 26; Luzviminda Dumalag, 46; Ferry Anne Alberto, 37; Kathleen Anne Mabagos, 28; and Blessy Palisoc, the youngest of the batch at age 24.

Gan, a computer technology graduate, worked as a driver in Dubai. Bathan served as a family driver in Abu Dhabi for six years; Blanco, seven years. Mendez, on the other hand, is a graduate of BS Criminology and worked as construction service driver.

The 13 came from an initial batch of 31 applicants pre-screened by the MMDA. Twenty-one eventually underwent gruelling skills assessment tests conducted by TESDA driving instructors on February 23 at the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City.

The tests include written examination, skills demonstration, and oral questioning, and also involved crash course on maintenance and servicing of vehicles, pre- and post-operation procedures on vehicles, observance of traffic rules and regulations; coordination of accident emergency procedures; and actual driving test of a passenger bus or straight truck.

Three bus companies - HM Bus, Philtranco, and RRCG - have expressed their interest to hire the 13 lady bus drivers.

As an incentive to bus companies, the units to be driven by the TESDA --qualified lady bus drivers will be exempted from the number coding scheme, according to Tolentino.

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MARCH 2, 2011

MMDA Chairman Bats for Anti-Littering Ordinances in LGUs

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino urged Metro Manila mayors and other local chief executives to push for the passage of anti-littering ordinances within their respective jurisdictions. The MMDA Chairman said that trash thrown indiscriminately clogs waterways, resulting in massive flooding during the rainy season.

Tolentino aired the appeal to heads and officers of local government units (LGUs) during a consultative meeting on solid waste management. He also announced that at least 21,000 litterbugs were apprehended by MMDA environmental enforcers since the agency re-implemented a Metro Manila Council anti-littering regulation during his term.

The MMDA head encouraged LGUs that have already passed anti-litter ordinances to implement them without let-up. "When our local government units implement anti-littering campaigns simultaneously and as one, we will send a strong signal to the public that we mean business," he said.

The MMDA anti-littering regulation, which is implemented in major thoroughfares within Metro Manila, penalizes violators with fines ranging from Php 500 to Php 1,000 or community service.

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FEBRUARY 22, 2011

Metro Manila Council Approves PUV Tagging Scheme

For easy tracking and detection, public utility vehicles (PUVs), particularly buses, are now required to paint their license plate numbers on their roofs.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has passed a resolution strictly implementing a PUV roof tagging scheme to enable the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and law enforcement agencies to effectively monitor the movements of PUVs in Metro Manila's streets.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency is now working on the implementing guidelines of the program before it is enforced on transport companies that operate in the metropolis.

"By having their license plate numbers painted on their roofs, our CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras could easily identify them. It would be easier for us to track down traffic violators or respond to any emergencies," Tolentino said.

The roof tagging scheme is also be a big help to law enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP). The PNP, especially the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO), operates its own set of CCTV systems for surveillance and anti-criminality operations.

The MMDA presently has 68 operational CCTVs in major thoroughfares, which are monitored and controlled round-the-clock by the agency's command center in Makati City.

Tolentino said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has pledged to donate 1,000 sets of CCTVs to the MMDA

Moreover, the roof tagging policy will also help prevent the use of fake license plates by unscrupulous bus operators who operate colorum buses or those who want to get around the number coding scheme of the MMDA, Tolentino said.

"Even atop the footbridges, our traffic enforcers could easily see the license plates of the PUVs, especially when they're going after a traffic violator," the MMDA chief added.

"After we have crafted the guidelines, we will have it circularized to transport operators. We will give them three months to paint their units. Those with no markings on their roofs after will not be allowed to operate," Tolentino said.

The tagging scheme also covers taxicabs and provincial buses. Passenger jeepneys may also be included soon, subject to the approval of the MMC.

The tagging scheme is a revival of MMDA Resolution No. 02-27 approved by the MMC on July 25, 2002 authorizing the MMDA to implement vehicle tagging by painting the license plate number on the roof of all registered and franchised PUVs plying the major and secondary roads of Metro Manila.

Tolentino said, however, that most of the PUVs have not yet been tagged.

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FEBRUARY 18, 2011

MMDA, Metro Mayors Propose Urban Renewal of Metro Manila

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the 17 mayors of Metro Manila have agreed to embark on an extensive physical redevelopment of the metropolis through an urban renewal program that aims to transform the region into a world-class livable region by 2016.

During the Metro Manila Council (MMC) meeting in Malacañang last Thursday, the 17 mayors and other voting members of the council initially agreed to form a committee, with the MMDA as the lead agency, to formulate a six-year Urban Renewal Master Plan for Metro Manila.

"We want to create a world-class, vibrant, safe and healthy metropolis by 2016 by implementing short- and medium-term programs. This we will do with the mayors as our active partners," MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

Tolentino said Metro Manila, a region of 12 million people, needs redevelopment not only to improve its physical surroundings but also to create a world-class economic hub at par with other metropolitan areas in Asia such as Hongkong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul-Incheon-Gyeonggi in South Korea, and Shanghai.

"We have to revitalize our central business districts, create better, safer roads, a land-and-rail mass transportation system, and other major face-lifting endeavors to address Metro Manila's rapid urban decay," Tolentino said.

The MMDA presented to the MMC last Thursday its proposed short- and medium-term urban renewal projects, which Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian proposed to be funded by the Office of the President and joint financing by the 17 local governments in Metro Manila.

Included in the proposed short-term programs, which the agency said are implementable in two years, are the installation and modernization of more traffic signal lights, additional CCTVs, and safer roads and walkways and well-maintained parks.

Tolentino also underscored the further improvement of airports' façade and the development of tourism corridors and sites, and regular-cleanup of coastal waterways.

Road widening, sidewalk rehabilitation, and other geometric improvements were also proposed on the seven major roads of Metro Manila: Edsa, Commonwealth Avenue, C-5, Marcos Highway, Quezon Avenue, Mc Arthur Highway and R-10.

Under the medium-term tangibles (two to five years), the Authority suggested the further improvement of the MRT, LRT, and PNR lines, and the construction of elevate roadways along C-5 road.

The MMDA also proposed the construction of a tramway in Edsa which involves the use of trams or railcars to transport passengers, similar to other cities abroad such as London, Helsinki, Finland; Alexandria, Egypt; Timisoara, Romania; Riga, Latvia, and some cities and states in the US.

To untangle traffic jams in major roads due to large volume of vehicles, especially public utility vehicles (PUVs), the MMDA proposed a well-planned, integrated inter-modal terminals, and well-maintained and accessible station facilities such as walkways and escalators.

Recognizing the value of tourist sites, Tolentino said the MMDA is also proposing the improvement of existing tourist destinations in Metro Manila to promote and enhance the region's tourism industry.

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FEBRUARY 14, 2011

MMDA's Metro Ko, Love Ko!" Urban Renewal Program Launched at Taguig City

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) together with the Metro Manila mayors' spouses launched the "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" Program on Saturday (February 12) at Taguig City University.

Kicking off with a vigorous anti-littering campaign which is but one aspect of the urban renewal drive, the "Metro Ko, love Ko!" Program is a concerted and broad based initiative that will pool together resources, time and talent from the public and private sectors to revive and regenerate the metropolis.

"Everyday, Metro Manilans face challenges - traffic, flooding, urban blight and poverty. We need to take ownership and have a better vision for the metropolis. We need to pursue physical and infrastructural improvements. But most significantly, we hope to see a shift in people's mindset, attitude and behavior that aims for a sustainable future," said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino in explaining the "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" theme.

The launch was attended by the Metro Manila mayors' spouses and representatives. Its keynote speaker was Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and special guests and attendees included Committee on Higher Education Chairperson Dra. Patricia B. Licuanan, Mrs. Purificacion Echiverri, President of the Metro Manila Mayors' Spouses Foundation Inc., social entrepreneur and celebrity expert Ricky Reyes, MMDA Deputy Chairman Alex Cabanilla and General Manager Corazon T. Jimenez.

The launching rites included a project overview by General Manager Jimenez and inspirational speech from DENR Secretary Ramon Paje. There was an awarding ceremony for the "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" art contest in which various schools participated, and the signing of a Declaration of Support by the Metro Manila Spouses and unfolding of "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" tarpaulin signs that will be posted in various locations. The ceremony was followed by a simple lunch and working meeting for the group to map out its next steps.

The MMDA head explained that the "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" Program will be in ongoing and future urban renewal projects such as the Flood Control Bayanihan Zone, a community based flood zone alliance, the Lingap sa Barangay clean-up program, the anti-littering and anti-smoking campaigns, anti-smoke belching operations, and the EDSA (Everyone Deserves Safe Air) Project which will consist of artworks along EDSA using environmentally-friendly paint materials.

"Together, we can and shall envision and achieve a renewed and revived metropolis for our people," said Chairman Tolentino.

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FEBRUARY 10, 2011

MMDA and Metro Mayors and Spouses Launch "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" Program

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), together with the Metro Manila mayors and their spouses, national and private agencies and schools will jointly launch on Saturday (February 12) at Taguig City University, a new anti-littering campaign to clear Metro Manila's streets and waterways of trash.

Under the umbrella of the "Metro Ko, Love Ko!", the MMDA-led project is a concerted and broad-based effort that will promote cleanliness, since the indiscriminate throwing of garbage clogs drainage systems and waterways, causing floods during rains.

The "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" program is a comprehensive, multi-sectoral initiative that will promote worthy causes including cleanliness and urban renewal.

"We want to intensify participative and people-centric approaches by involving communities and other stakeholders," Chairman Francis Tolentino said. "If we proceed with this anti-littering campaign as one, the message we send to the public is that we mean business," he added.

The campaign will promote the intensified implementation of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and MMDA Regulation No. 96-009, the Anti-Littering Ordinance.

Since September 2010, the MMDA has apprehended over 21,000 litterbugs in Metro Manila.

MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez sees the campaign as a positive and mitigating measure to abate and control flooding by drastically reducing litter along clogged canals and waterways.

"Most solutions to our problems are simple and need not be expensive. Part of the "Metro Ko, Love Ko!" programs is an easy and sustainable approach towards effectively addressing Metro Manila's garbage and flood concerns," she said.

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FEBRUARY 4, 2011

MMDA Chairman Fires Personnel for Taking Bribe

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino fired MMDA Road Emergency Group member Rodelio Sison for accepting money from a driver involved in a self-accident.

A leading daily published a photograph of Vincent Escobar, whose red Ferrari slammed into the center island of Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City, slipping something into the palm of Sison. Escobar's other hand clutched thousand-peso bills. It was reported that Escobar, who said he was related to a general, refused to cooperate with traffic policemen or let anyone touch the car.

"We will not tolerate wrongdoers among our ranks," said the MMDA Chairman. "Sison was caught red-handed. Let this serve as a warning to all our officers and personnel."

Chairman Tolentino also urged motorists to refrain from offering bribes or grease money. "Bribery is a two-way transaction. We call on the citizenry to simply follow traffic laws and uphold the highest standards of discipline and road courtesy."

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FEBRUARY 3, 2011

MMDA Opens Baclaran - Redemptorist Rotunda



The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) completed the construction of the first of the several roundabouts or rotundas it intends to put up to unclog traffic on major roads and intersections.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the newly-built roundabout at the corner of Redemptorist Street and Roxas Boulevard Service Road in Parañaque City was operational since Monday, and has greatly improved vehicular and pedestrian traffic at the previously traffic-prone area.

"The roundabout improved the visual layout of the Baclaran area and has eased traffic congestion which has been a long time problem," Tolentino said.

MMDA workers started constructing the Baclaran rotunda on January 15. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) granted the MMDA's request to do an asphalt overlay on the carved-out road pavement.

The roundabout has a diameter of 14 meters. Ornamental plants and elephant grass were added for aesthetic purposes.

The agency's Traffic Engineering Center (TEC) transferred the Organized Bus Route (OBRT) terminal at the service road fronting the Redemptorist Church and cleared it of sidewalk vendors and illegal structures.

TEC head Neomie Recio said the area has been declared a no-parking zone to ensure that the traffic will remain free-flowing and unobstructed.

"There has been a maximum increase in travel speed of 26.9 kilometers per hour in the area since our roundabout became operational, a very significant improvement," Recio said.

The MMDA-TEC is also constructing a similar roundabout at the intersection of Redemptorist-President Quirino Avenue-FB Harrison at the end of LRT 1 line but the area is currently teeming with vendors.

Prior to its construction, simulation studies conducted by TEC engineers showed there would be a 209 percent increase in travel speed at the area once the roundabout is put in place.

Recio said the illegal vendors should be removed first to give way for the bigger roundabout.

The MMDA decided to put up roundabouts in major intersections in its continuing efforts to improve Metro Manila's traffic situation.

Tolentino said they have already identified locations where roundabouts can be constructed.

The roundabouts follow the concept of U-turn slots, which entail the removal of traffic signal lights in intersections to make the traffic free-flowing. They are proven to be cost-efficient and to have a calming effect on both motorists and pedestrians.

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JANUARY 21, 2011

MMDA Chairman Commends Muntinlupa for Anti-Plastic and Styrofoam Measure

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino lauded the City of Muntinlupa for implementing an ordinance against the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials by all business establishments.

Effective Tuesday (January 18), the City of Muntinlupa started implementing Ordinance No. 10-109, otherwise known as "an ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags on dry goods, regulating its utilization on wet goods, and prohibiting the use of Styrofoam" in Muntinlupa City.

It is the first city in Metro Manila to ban the use of plastic bags for wet and dry goods and Styrofoam/ styrophor as food containers.

In passing the Ordinance, the Muntinlupa City Council noted that disposed plastic bags and other non-biodegradable containers are the major causes of flash floods in the city during heavy rains as it clogged canals, three creeks, 11 rivers and other waterways that all drain into the nearby Laguna Lake.

"I laud the City Government of Muntinlupa, under the visionary leadership of Mayor Aldrin San Pedro for initiating this bold move for the sake of our environment," the MMDA Chairman said. He added that he would push for the adoption of this measure as a model ordinance to be adopted by the fifteen other cities and one municipality comprising Metropolitan Manila, and exhorted other mayors throughout the Philippines to do the same.

The Muntinlupa ordinance bans polystyrene containers, commonly known as "Styrofoam" or "Styropor" for foodstuffs, drinks and other goods. Violators will be meted a fine, while business establishments found violating the ordinance may have their licenses to operate cancelled for up to one year.

Polystyrene is a petroleum-based plastic with insulation properties and is used in all types of products such as beverage cups and food containers.

A 1986 US Environmental Protection Agency report on solid waste named the polystyrene manufacturing process as the 5th largest creator of hazardous waste. The process of making polystyrene is reported to pollute the air and create large amounts of solid and liquid waste.

Toxic chemicals leach out of these products into the food that they contain, especially when heated in a microwave. These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems.

Polystyrene foam is often dumped into the environment as litter which breaks up into pieces that choke animals and clog their digestive systems.

Cities and counties such as Taiwan, Portland (USA) and Orange County, CA have outlawed polystyrene foam.

"The MMDA strongly encourages local government units to adopt similar strong measures such as these to combat the dangerous effects of environmental degradation which leads to massive flooding and climate change," said the MMDA Chair, noting that the damages wrought by Typhoon Ondoy on Metro Manila and its neighboring towns and cities reached up to US$ 4 Billion. "The tragic loss of lives and loved ones is unquantifiable," he added.

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JANUARY 19, 2011

MMDA Launches Flood Control Bayanihan Zone in Sampaloc, Manila

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) launched the first-ever Flood Control Bayanihan Zone Alliance (FCBZA) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Sampaloc, Manila yesterday.

Anchored on the principle of shared social responsibility for the common good, the FCBZA is a concrete example of public-private partnership, composed mainly of key representatives from various sectors such as civic and business establishments, religious groups, academe, non-government organizations, and government agencies.

Chairman Francis Tolentino said the objectives of the creation of the FCBZA are as follows: to propose projects and other measures which are geared towards flood mitigation; to alert the residents of the community during times of disaster and emergencies; to monitor government projects; and to execute formulated guidelines in times of crisis.

The first zone alliance is composed of the different communities from the Sampaloc District, mainly España, Blumentritt, Lacson, Dapitan, and its immediate vicinity, which are identified as perennial flood-prone areas. It will serve as the model zone and will be replicated in other flood-prone areas located in Mandaluyong, Makati, San Juan, and Quezon City.

The FCBZA's main responsibility is to provide assistance in flood control preparedness and mitigation, emergency response operations, and restoration and rehabilitation works.

"This kind of public-private partnership has been done in other third world countries and had proven to be effective in addressing problems from the community level. FCBZA is specifically designed to encourage all sectors of society to join hands, as government cannot do everything alone," Tolentino said.

According to the MMDA chief, the agency will provide training on disaster preparedness, coordination and response, and evacuation procedures.

Further, review on road designs, street levels, flood control projects, and other essential factors to address flooding problems will be conducted by the MMDA along with the Department of Public Works and Highways and other relevant stakeholders.

Each bayanihan zone will be responsible in conducting information campaign and advocacy outreach program to eradicate causes of flooding in their respective areas.

During the Bayanihan Zone's launch at the UST campus yesterday, the participating sectors elected its chairman, vice chairman and board of directors who will take the lead in all flood control-related projects and programs in their community.

The FCBZA is the latest among the measures introduced by the MMDA to alleviate flooding in the metropolis.

"The MMDA will try to extend help as much as possible, even beyond flood control. But active participation from the community is important to ensure the success of this project. We need to address the problem soon, as we have seen the adverse effects of flooding even on first world countries," Tolentino pointed out.

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JANUARY 17, 2011

MMDA to Continue Implementation of Mabuhay Lanes

After its success during the holiday season, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will continue with the implementation of the Mabuhay/ Christmas lanes as alternate routes to decongest Metro Manila's major thoroughfares.

According to Chairman Francis Tolentino, the alternate routes which the agency opened last month was effective in easing traffic along Edsa.

"Once again I'm requesting the public, particularly private motorists, to continue patronizing the Mabuhay lanes, as they are useful not only during the Christmas season, but every day," Tolentino said.

Studies conducted by the Traffic Discipline Office (formerly Traffic and Transport Management Office) after the implementation of the Christmas lanes showed that travel speed along Edsa increased by more than fourteen percent, from 27.98 kilometers per hour (kph) to 32.07 kph.

These figures are expected to improve now that the holiday rush is over, the Chairman said.

Tolentino ordered the Traffic Engineering Center to conduct continuous clearing of road obstructions along the Mabuhay lanes to ensure unimpeded travel.

The Mabuhay lanes start at the North and South entry points of Edsa. From South to North, they start at Coastal Road and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The MMDA chief urged private motorists to continue using the alternate routes and avoid passing through Edsa especially during the rush hours.

"Our primary objective is to reduce traffic volume along our major thoroughfares," Tolentino said.

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JANUARY 13, 2011

MMDA Chairman Tolentino Leads Opening of RDC-NCR Workshop

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino led the formal opening of the three-day annual workshop on the formulation of the regional development plan by the Regional Development Council (RDC) of the National Capital Region (NCR) on Tuesday at the MMDA office in Makati City.

Tolentino, concurrent head of the RDC-NCR, delivered the opening remarks and welcomed the participants and members of the RDC-NCR line agencies and representatives from the local government units (LGUs).

"This activity is vital in the formulation of short and medium-term programs and projects in NCR for the continuous delivery of basic services to the public," Tolentino said.

The workshop have been organized to validate and update the socio-economic indicators and enhance social analysis, identify development outlooks and challenges facing the different sectors, determine strategies to address various challenges, and identify strategic interventions through programs, activities, and projects for immediate implementation.

Further, the MMDA chief said the activity is aimed at ensuring that the regional thrusts and priorities, in support of the national development objectives are in line with President Aquino's 16-point agenda.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, as chairman of the Social Development Sector, presided over the first day's activities.

Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City attended yesterday's session, as he heads the Infrastructure Development Sector. Today's session will focus on the Economic Development Sector chaired by Marikina City Mayor Del De Guzman, the Environment Development Sector headed by Taguig City Mayor Ma. Lani Cayetano, and the Finance and Administration Development Sector under Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr.

Officials of planning, engineering, budget, and health/social welfare departments of the 17 LGUs comprising NCR have been invited to prepare, merge, and finalize various programs and projects in Metro Manila.

The RDC is the highest policy-making body in a region and serves as the counterpart of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board at the sub national level. It is the main body that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in NCR and also serves as a medium where local plans and programs can be related and integrated with national development activities.

Member-agencies of the RDC-NCR include the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Department of Health (DOH), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology, among others.

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JANUARY 11, 2011

MMDA Mulls Grant of Incentives to City Bus Operators Employing Lady Drivers

To encourage bus companies to hire female drivers, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is willing to grant incentives to city bus operators, such as exemption from the number coding scheme for bus units driven by women.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency is dead serious in trying this women-driver proposal if only to lessen traffic accidents in Metro Manila and reduce traffic congestion caused by reckless and ill-disciplined male drivers.

"We will exempt from UVVRP (Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program) all buses piloted by lady drivers. That is one. We will study other incentives and rewards to bus companies who will try this scheme," Tolentino said.

Tolentino, citing scientific studies, floated the idea of having public utility buses driven by women, whom he said are less aggressive but safer drivers on the road, unlike with their male counterparts who have figured in numerous accidents in the past weeks.

The MMDA chief had already sent a letter to Chairman Nelson Laluces of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, strongly urging the agency to consider requiring bus operators to employ women drivers to comprise not less than 50 percent of their driver complement.

MMDA figures showed that a total of 260 male drivers figured in fatal road accidents last year, while women drivers figured in only 60.

For the same period, agency records also showed that a total of 9,526 men figured in non-fatal road accidents while women figured in only 3,605.

Debunking the claim of several bus companies that women have no skills and physical capabilities to handle big vehicles such as passenger buses in long hours on the road, the MMDA chief said most modern buses nowadays are equipped with power steering for easy driving.

"We should not underestimate what women can do. Provided with sufficient training, they can easily handle these city buses," Tolentino said.

He noted that there have been several Filipino women who have dominated international motor sports competitions, such as Gaby dela Merced, a Formula 3 racecar driver, and Mandaluyong City-born Michelle Marie Bumgarner, who at the age of 19 won the Tag Seniors Crown kart racing at the Illinois Grand Prix on 2008.

Women drivers may also undergo training and certification from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which is being proposed for bus drivers following the spates of road accidents involving buses nationwide, Tolentino added.

"Bus companies also need not give their women drivers additional benefits. There are existing labor laws that define each employee's benefits, including health concerns," Tolentino pointed out, adding that he had already conferred with Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz regarding the work terms and conditions for women drivers on entry level in the public transport industry.

Besides, the Chairman added that under existing labor laws, private companies are required to hire female employees based on gender equality and norms as required by several United Nations Conventions of which the Philippines is a signatory.

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JANUARY 6, 2011

MMDA Resumes Sidewalk Clearing Operations in Baclaran Tomorrow

After clearing Balintawak and Edsa-Taft of illegal vendors early this week, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will conduct sidewalk clearing operations in Baclaran tomorrow (January 7).

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino ordered the deployment of at least 400 personnel to Baclaran as early as 4 am, particularly in Redemptorist Street, to peacefully drive away illegal vendors and remove illegal structures that obstruct the free flow of traffic in the area.

While expecting no resistance from the vendors, the MMDA has asked for at least 200 policemen from the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) to provide security and maintain peace and order during the operations.

The MMDA sidewalk clearing team will be composed of members of the Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG) and Roadway Clearing Operations Group (RCOG), as well as from the Traffic Engineering Center (TEC) and Rescue Unit.

"We have been very lenient during the Christmas season but now their presence in the sidewalks and roadways are being felt due to worsening traffic congestion," Tolentino said.

MMDA Deputy Chairman Alex Cabanilla met with Parañaque City Mayor Florencio Bernabe, Jr. last Tuesday to coordinate the clearing drive, which Tolentino assured would be peaceful and orderly.

Similar to the sidewalk clearing operation in Balintawak and Edsa-Taft Avenue areas last Monday, no one will be physically harmed and the vendors' goods will be not confiscated or thrown out in the streets, Tolentino assured.

MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez also met with the various vendors' associations in Baclaran last Wednesday to point out the agency's objectives in clearing the sidewalks and roadways, and the need for the vendors to have a proper place to sell their goods.

Tolentino said the MMDA recognizes the sidewalk vendors' livelihood as he ordered the MMDA personnel to respect the vendors' rights at all times.

He said the anti-sidewalk vendor operatives of the MMDA will only be on the defensive throughout the clearing operations.

Once cleared of obstructions, the MMDA intends to put up steel fences along the sidewalks to prevent vendors from returning.

"This is a major clearing operation and if successful, it will serve as the template for all our sidewalk clearing operations in the future," Tolentino said.

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JANUARY 6, 2011

MMDA to Field Traffic Enforcers for Black Nazarene Procession

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will deploy 300 traffic enforcers to the Quiapo area starting 4 a.m. Sunday (January 9) to man traffic within the vicinity of the Quiapo Church as it celebrates the feast of the Black Nazarene.

Chairman Francis Tolentino said the contingent will augment the existing number of enforcers from the Philippine National Police and the local government of Manila to ensure a peaceful and orderly celebration of the event.

Majority of the traffic enforcers will be manning the roads leading to the Quiapo Church to ensure the safety of an estimated six million devotees expected to join the annual festivities.

"This is the first time for MMDA to lend support to Manila in line with the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Our traffic enforcers will supervise vehicular and pedestrian traffic to avoid accidents or any untoward incident particularly along the route of the procession," Tolentino said.

MMDA ambulances, tow trucks, and personnel from the Rescue Unit will also be on standby to provide assistance in case of emergencies.

Metro aides and street sweepers will also be deployed in the area after the procession to clean and clear the roads of all types of clutter.

Tolentino requests the public to cooperate with the traffic enforcers and other authorities in order to guarantee a safe, orderly, and meaningful celebration.

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JANUARY 5, 2011

MMDA Eyes Roundabouts to Ease Metro Traffic

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is proposing the construction of roundabouts at strategic locations all over Metro Manila in its continuous efforts to decongest traffic along major thoroughfares.

During an aerial inspection conducted yesterday morning, Chairman Francis Tolentino got a holistic picture of the traffic situation at different areas during the rush hour.

"We will be proposing and implementing short and long-term solutions to address traffic congestion specifically on bottleneck areas where there are too many road obstructions," Tolentino said.

Tolentino said part of the solution is the putting up of roundabouts or rotundas which will increase travel speed and eventually decongest the major roads.

"Initially, we are planning to construct nine roundabouts within six cities. Among the pilot areas we are considering are the Julia Vargas - Meralco Avenue and Redemptorist - Quirino Avenue - Taft Avenue intersections," Tolentino said.

Simulation studies conducted by the Agency's Traffic Engineering Center (TEC) showed that a maximum travel speed of 26.9 kilometers per hour is observed at the Redemptorist area once a roundabout is in place, or an increase of 209 percent.

A similar study showed a 191 percent increase in travel speed along the Julia Vargas - Meralco Avenue intersection with the construction of a roundabout.

Neomie Recio, head of the TEC, said the Agency has already identified numerous locations where roundabouts can be constructed, but so far, after thorough studies conducted, only the two have yielded positive results in terms of effectiveness in traffic reduction.

The roundabouts follow the concept of U-turn slots, which entail the removal of traffic signal lights to make the traffic free-flowing.

According to the MMDA chief, the roundabouts will be built at no cost to the Agency and are environment friendly.

Recio explained the roundabout project will be recommended to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which will shoulder the cost of construction.

Tolentino said he is determined to pursue the project despite the 52 percent cut in the Agency's budget for 2011.

The MMDA chief said he will appeal the budget cut to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), or to President Aquino himself, because many traffic-alleviating projects the on the Agency's drawing board will be affected.

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JANUARY 4, 2011

MMDA Resumes Anti-Sidewalk Vending Operations

After a holiday lull, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today resumed its sidewalk clearing operations in Metro Manila, driving away more than 750 vendors that have been obstructing traffic flow.

On orders of MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, MMDA Undersecretary Alex Cabanilla led a contingent of anti-illegal vendor unit in clearing the sidewalks of Balintawak Market in Edsa, Quezon City, and the Edsa-Taft area in Pasay City during simultaneous operations that started at dawn.

"We have given the sidewalk vendors until January 2, and this not extendable. They now have to go," Tolentino, who is celebrating his birthday today, said.

But unlike previous clearing operations, Tolentino said this morning's activity was a "resounding success" since there was no reported resistance from the vendors.

The MMDA chief said the vendors and the local government units (LGUs) were given prior notice, true to the agency's advocacy of "discipline with compassion" in dealing with the sidewalk vendors.

"We are grateful to the LGUs for supporting us in this campaign. This only goes to show that violence and untoward incidents can be prevented if all the concerned sectors are working together," Tolentino said.

The MMDA also targeted Baclaran but the city government of Parañaque asked the MMDA to postpone the clearing operation in the area until January 7.

Tolentino said he hopes to delegate the sidewalk clearing operations to the concerned LGUs, instead of the MMDA.

This week, the MMDA will be conducting similar clearing operations along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, particularly in pedestrian footbridges that have been occupied by illegal vendors.

The re-intensified sidewalk clearing operation of the MMDA is divided into three phases: pre-clearing, actual, and the post-clearing. The first phase involves the consultation and dialogue with the vendors and concerned LGUs and other sectors.

The second phase is the actual clearing, which no longer entails the outright confiscation of the vendors' goods. The last phase is the deployment of necessary personnel in the cleared areas to deter vendors from returning.

Tolentino said all these operations will be coordinated with and will have the active participation of the LGUs.

The MMDA implemented a holiday suspension of sidewalk clearing operations last month to give vendors the opportunity to earn a living during the Christmas. The reprieve, however, was only for those who do not obstruct vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

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