By Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco, August 20 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to CNN Philippines

THE fate of the Expanded High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) policy banning driver-only vehicles on Edsa rests on the Metro Manila Council (MMC), an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Sunday.

MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo S. Garcia Jr. said the MMC —the governing and policy-making body of the agency—is set to meet this week.

The MMDA also announced the suspension of the full implementation of the HOV along Edsa on August 23 following the opposition of the Senate.

“We respect the wisdom of our senators. We are suspending the full implementation of the policy on August,” Garcia said.

“[But] the MMDA has no power to stop the policy because it is a resolution from the MMC. The MMC has the last say,” he added.

The MMDA official said the agency is open to amending the guidelines of the policy that hopes to reduce the number of vehicles along Edsa while encouraging people to carpool.

Garcia said the policy is not meant to cause inconvenience to solo drivers traversing Edsa but a “short-term solution” of the agency amid the simultaneous implementation of infrastructure projects under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

“We need to do something. We cannot just wait for these infrastructure projects that would take three to four years,” said Garcia, adding that “Metro Manila’s traffic problems are already decades old. There is no overnight solution.”

According to Garcia, several bridges in Metro Manila will undergo improvement works starting this year. “Set for repairs are Estrella Bridge, Rockwell Bridge and Binondo Bridge. We are facing a lot of problems. The Guadalupe Bridge will undergo rehabilitation next year,” he said.

Based on the agency’s monitoring, the policy eased traffic flow on Edsa during the start of the week-long dry run. On Wednesday Senate leaders called on the MMDA to suspend the policy.

The establishment of HOV lanes on Edsa bans driver-only vehicles from traversing Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Magallanes in Makati City during rush hour: 7 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays.