Erap orders clean up of U-Belt, side streets

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Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Friday ordered the men and women of the Manila Police District (MPD) to conduct a citywide clearing operation to flush out illegal vendors, vagrants, lawless elements and traffic-causing obstructions and eyesores in time for the school opening on Monday.

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Immediately yesterday, MPD Director Rolando Nana dispatched policemen to areas with high concentration of schools such as the University Belt where big universities are located like the Far Eastern University, University of the East, San Beda College, San Sebastian College, Holy Spirit College, and Arellano University, among others.

Nana promised safety and convenience to thousands of returning students, faculty, school personnel and also for motorists and pedestrians passing through the area.

“We don’t want any untoward incident to happen in the first day of school. We’ll do our best efforts to make sure that the students will not encounter any hassle when they return to school,” the mayor said.

Also included in the clearing operation are streets leading to public and private elementary and high schools, including those in Sampaloc, Quiapo, and Santa Cruz, particularly the western end of España Boulevard where there are many colleges, universities, and review centers.

Some 100 policemen, backed by barangay watchmen and city hall personnel, will conduct the operation, according to Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, the deputy director for operations of MPD.

“That’s the marching order from the Mayor, zero incident during the opening of classes,” he said.

Pedrozo warned not only illegal vendors, but also ‘solvent boys,’ and other street dwellers like illegal pedicabs and colorum public utility vehicles. Illegal structures will also be removed to clear up more road space for pedestrians and motorists.

City ordinances such as curfew for minors will also be strictly enforced, as well as street drinking; men walking around with no shirts on will also be apprehended.

Pedrozo said they will also clamp down on operators of “Piso Net” Internet shops and “video karera” machines and other illegal gambling joints that operate near the schools.

“Some internet shops do not have a permit to operate. Many of them allow students to view lewd shows,” he added.

Also part of the “Oplan Balik-Ligtas Eskuwela” is the continuous operations against illegal terminals of jeepneys, AUVs, and tricycles, Pedrozo said.

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