The Metro Manila Development Authority lacks the proper equipment to remove heavy vehicles involved in road accidents.
Last week, a driver was killed while four other persons were severely injured after a cement mixer truck crushed a family car in front of the headquarters of the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology on Mindanao Avenue, near its intersection with Congressional Avenue.
MMDA and BJMP personnel, and residents in the area responded to rescue the victims but they took several hours to remove the truck and pull out the victims from the flattened car.
MMDA general manager Thomas Orbos admitted that lack in personnel and proper equipment hamper the agency’s operation to respond quickly to emergency situation such as road accident, especially when it involves passenger buses and other heavy vehicles.
“We have heavy-duty cranes but we don’t have the special ones that can navigate in congested places,” said Orbos.
MMDA recorded at least five road accidents every day, most of which happened and cause heavy traffic along the busy and congested Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.
Four months ago, more than 40 people were also hurt when an RRCG bus was involved in an accident along Edsa near Estrella Street in Makati City.
Orbos, who is also the Transportation Undersecretary for Road and head of the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic, said the government “need to try to work out whatever we can.”
The MMDA identified more than 50 main thoroughfares as accident-prone areas in the National Capital Region while most of the dangerous times to be on the streets happened at nighttime and wee hours in the morning.
Based on the 2016 Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System program report, road accidents usually happen in the City of Manila along President Sergio Osmeña Highway, Radial Road 10 (R-10) and Roxas Boulevard; and along Commonwealth Avenue, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quirino Highway, Quezon Avenue and Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City.
In Camanava area, road accidents usually happen along Quirino Highway and Rizal Aven ue in Caloocan City; Circumferential Road-4 (C-4 Road), Gov. Pascual Avenue, M.H. Del Pilar Street, and McArthur Highway in Malabon City; Honorio Lopez Boulevard, Radial Road 10, and Naval Street in Navotas, and Maysan Road and McArthur Highway in Valenzuela.
In Southern Metro Manila, the accident-prone areas are Sergio Osmeña Highway and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue and Edsa in Makati City; the Alabang-Zapote Road, Real Street and Marcos Alvarez Avenue in Las Pinas City; West Service Road, National Highway, and Alabang-Zapote Road in Muntinlupa City; West Service Road, Roxas Boulevard, Ninoy Aquino Avenue, and Dr. A Santos Avenue in Parañaque City; Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Extension and Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City; Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, Circumferential Road 5, M.L. Quezon Street and East Service Road in Taguig City, and Almeda Street and Herrera Street in Pateros.
Accidents in the Eastern part, meanwhile, happen along Marcos and Sumulong Highways in Marikina City; Edsa and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City; Ortigas Avenue, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Marcos Highway and Julia Vargas Street in Pasig City; and Ortigas Avenue, Edsa, Santolan Road, P. Guevarra Street and N. Domingo Street in San Juan City.
Quezon City recorded the highest number of accidents last year with 33,717 followed by Makati (12,505) and Manila (11,307).
Pateros, on the other hand, has the lowest number of road incidents in 2016, followed by Navotas and Malabon.
The MMRAS report also showed that most dangerous times to be on the roads of Metro Manila are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. as these are the times when most accidents happen.
It stated that 40,823 or 37.34 percent of accidents occurred during the hours of darkness and without time indicated, while the 68,499 or 62.65 percent occurred during daytime.
“It can be observed that even though most of the accidents occurred at daytime, fatal accidents are considered high during night-time and wee hours in the morning. Drivers, Passengers and Pedestrians are advised to be cautious and attentive during these particular hours,” the report further stated.
The MMDA identified those areas based on the MMRAS which was created and operated by the agency’s Traffic Discipline and Engineering Offices-Road Safety Unit in close cooperation with the Philippine National Police.
The MMRAS was created to provide information on “fatal”, “non-fatal injury” and “damage to property” road crashes that have been recorded by the MMDA Road Safety Unit thru the police report of the PNP.
The report showed that the number of road accidents went up in the metropolis in 2016 by 13,707 to 109,322 from the 95,615 the previous year while a total of 426 people were killed and 16,416 others were injured.
Last year, Senator Ralph Recto urged the Department of Transportation to include in its budget the acquisition of medical ambulances and tow trucks to address vehicular accidents, which also contribute to the road gridlock.
Recto said that aside from saving lives, emergency medical teams can reduce the time when traffic is stopped and a road is blocked by an accident.
“When perpetually-parked cars narrow the three lanes of a highway into two, a tow truck can restore that road’s full carrying capacity in minutes and this is more urgent in the Philippine setting where road accidents are a leading cause of death plus the sad reality that busy national roads are not fully utilized due to illegally parked cars,” he said.
Recto said the deployment of emergency medical teams together with projects to improve road safety, like street lighting, should be considered in the master plan of projects that can be launched by virtue of the emergency powers being mulled.
Lack of awareness of traffic rules caused road accidents in the Philippines, according to former MMDA chairman Emerson Carlos.
“We should begin with the enforcement agents because they are the ones managing traffic. If we begin with the road users, and our enforcers lacks training and education about road safety, nothing will happen,” said Carlos.