October 27, 2021 at 11:30 pm
Joel E. Zurbano
Authorities are conducting random inspections in various transport terminals in Metro Manila to check the roadworthiness of vehicles, especially provincial buses, to ensure public safety in time for the holiday break this weekend.
“As Undas approaches, we are beginning to see an increase in the number of passengers. What is important here is we are ready. We are coordinating with local government units and all other concerned for the safety of the public,” said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr.
Abalos and other MMDA officials on Wednesday conducted an inspection at Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) days ahead of the long weekend for the observance of “Undas.”
The MMDA chief said the number coding scheme or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) is still suspended in the National Capital Region, except in Makati City where a modified coding scheme is being enforced.
The agency has decided to retain the suspension of the scheme for both public and private vehicles to allow people in Metro Manila more mobility as they start an exodus to the provinces.
On Tuesday, Abalos inspected cemeteries in Metro Manila three days before its closure for this year’s observance of “Undas.”
Authorities also reminded visitors to the Manila North Cemetery not to bring banned items during the “All Saints Day” and “All Souls Day” as these will be confiscated at the gate.
These include bladed materials, cigarettes, vapes, flammable materials, perfumes, gambling materials, drones, and even pets, according to a report on GMA News.
Security remained tight at the cemetery two days before it temporarily closes for “Undas.” Minors and senior citizens are not allowed to enter.
Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) said it expects traffic volume to increase this “Undas” holidays. The tollway firm said it will step up its operations as it implements the “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” (SMSK) project along the NLEX, SCTEX, CAVITEX, C5 LINK, and CALAX from October 29 to November 2, 2021.
Now on its 12th year, the SMSK is the motorist assistance program of the MPTC meant to enhance all services along its expressway network for a safer and more comfortable journey.
The MPTC operations teams have been on heightened alert as early as October 22 and have boosted customer services and safety protocols as it expects the influx of motorists who will visit their departed loved ones before cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria close from October 29 to November 2 to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
With traffic growth of 10% anticipated in NLEX-SCTEX, traffic management teams will adopt extended working hours to closely monitor and manage the expected high volume of vehicles in Balintawak, Mindanao, Karuhatan, Bocaue, San Simon, San Fernando, Tarlac and Tipo.
Around 1,200 patrol crews, traffic marshals, security teams, and lane personnel will be deployed to ensure safety and provide immediate assistance to motorists. Emergency medical services and incident response teams will also be fielded at strategic areas of the expressways.