posted September 23, 2017 at 12:01 am byBill Casas
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered the Task Force Manila Cleanup to intensify its cleaning and clearing of roads in major commercial areas in time for Christmas until New Year.
This after the task force estimated the number of shoppers in the city to increase from one million last year to around 1.5 million a day during the Yuletide season.
With the Philippines having the longest Christmas season and Filipinos starting their countdown during the “ber” months starting September, Estrada said the influx of shoppers in the city, especially in Divisoria, would create traffic problems.
“During ‘Ber’ months, there are a lot of shoppers visiting the malls, as well as vendors in the streets,” Estrada said. “We have to ensure that streets and sidewalks are clean, and traffic would ease, so that people will be able to pass through the streets and sidewalks without any problem.”
Estrada has tasked TFMC chief Che Borromeo to lead the cleanup and clearing of roads during this period.
“It seems that you can’t even drop a pin due to the large number of people in an area. They come from not only from Manila, but even from other cities and provinces,” Borromeo said.
As with previous years, the bulk of the Christmas shoppers go to Divisoria, the so-called “Pambansang Palengke” (National Market) known for its low-priced goods, Borromeo said.
An average of 1.5 million shoppers a day come to visit Divisoria during the peak Christmas shopping spree, from November till December, and may extend until New Year, he said.
Borromeo added the time the most number of people go to malls and shopping centers, as well as to buy gifts from vendors on the streets, is around 3 p.m. up to midnight, and early morning the next day.
This would peak somewhere between December 15 until just before Christmas, where many people rush to buy gifts for Christmas Day, he said.
“Sometimes, you can’t even distinguish the shoppers from the vendors, when there are a lot of people in the streets,” Borromeo joked.
According to the TFMC chief, around 100 City Hall personnel work in three shifts every day in Divisoria starting at 4 a.m. to clean up the streets and remove road obstructions.
“This would take place just before street vendors leave. Usually, vendors leave at 6 a.m.,” Borromeo said.
Expecting more trash during the Christmas season, he said TFMC will deploy up to 20 dump trucks a day, from the present 10 to 12, to speed up the garbage collection and clearing operations.
He identified the most traffic prone streets in Divisoria during the holiday rush as Recto, Abad Santos, Asuncion, Soler, Juan Luna, Ilaya, Tabora, Sto. Cristo and Carmen Planas.
Borromeo also urged shoppers to be careful against pickpockets and thieves, and not to leave their things unattended, as thieves usually prey on victims during these times.
But in the past months, street crimes in Manila have decreased due to the relentless anti-crime drive and police visibility campaign of the Manila Police District, he said.
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