METRO Manila Development Authority officer-in-charge Thomas Orbos on Monday clarified that only emergency vehicles are exempted from the number coding scheme being enforced in the National Capital Region.
“There is no such thing as an absolute or blanket exemption,” said Orbos in reaction to reports that a number of doctors in Metro Manila are complaining about the scheme, particularly the suspension of the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. window hours.
“In fact in the case of doctors, from what I observe, a lot of people not necessarily them [doctors], there was abuse in their sector. Many are using, either putting logo or posting stickers that they are doctors, but they are not. So, if you are into emergency care, we will exempt that. If not, we need to sacrifice and I’m sure the doctors will understand that,” he added.
Based on the MMDA advisory, the following are automatically exempted from the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or the Number Coding Scheme: emergency vehicles (police, military, ambulance, fire trucks); government service vehicles (red plate); diplomatic vehicles; accredited tow trucks; vehicles carrying persons who need emergency attention; medical practitioners responding to emergency cases.
Vehicles with commemorative plates are not exempted from the UVVRP.
Meanwhile, the MMDA public information office said media personnel and outlets that are using unmarked or unofficial vehicles during coverage need to apply for exemption from the scheme.
“With this, a letter addressed to MMDA General Manager Tim Orbos, stating the reason for their exemption needs to be submitted together with an attachment of the vehicles’ OR/CR to the MMDA Public Information Office,” it stated.
A P300 processing fee will also be charged for each UVVRP exemption.
Initial assessment of the MMDA on the full implementation of the number coding scheme showed that motorists reduced their travel by 10 to 15 minutes along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue from Monumento in Caloocan City to Baclaran in Pasay City.
“Records show we have traveled in Edsa shortened by at least 10 minutes. We need to take into consideration the arterial roads. That’s what the directive of [Transportation] Secretary [Arturo] Tugade and we will do it,” said Orbos.
Members of the Metro Manila Council agreed with the proposal to extend the window hour suspension in the number coding scheme to one hour from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. to 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
The MMC, composed of the 17 mayors in Metro Manila, also signed a resolution expanding the coverage of the traffic scheme to at least 15 main roads, most of them Circumferential and Radial roads.