The Automobile Association Philippines urged the government to lift the number coding scheme first before imposing the rule banning vehicles with less than three passengers from EDSA.
AAP president Gus Lagman issued the statement after Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson was reported as saying that their department is seriously considering the three-passenger/carpooling rule during peak hours on Metro Manila’s main artery.
However, Lagman clarified that AAP agrees with the plan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). He said it is one way of decongesting the 23.8-kilometer stretch of highway.
“While we agree with the DPWH’s plan to ban vehicles carrying less than three passengers in order to encourage carpooling, the government should lift the number coding scheme so as to give consideration to those motorists who follow this system,” Lagman said.
He acknowledged that the DPWH scheme would have a number of positive effects. “This three-people-per-car scheme would not only result in less traffic along EDSA, it would also cut pollution and promote carpooling ,” the head of the national auto club said.
Lagman added that to make the proposed new regulation a success, the arterial roads should be cleared of obstructions, sidewalk vendors and illegally parked vehicles to provide open alternate routes for motorists who cannot meet the three-passenger rule.
“The 3-passenger rule by itself would not solve the present traffic crisis, but we commend the DPWH leadership for considering other solutions such as flexible or different working hours for private and government offices,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AAP welcomed the fielding of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG) to key intersections on EDSA to improve traffic flow.
AAP vice president Johnny Angeles said that it is a good effort made by the government to address the traffic gridlock occurring in these areas of Metro Manila’s main artery. He claimed that for the last two years, AAP had been lobbying for the return of the PNP-HPG to EDSA to manage traffic like they did during the time of President Corazon C. Aquino.
On September 7, Angeles represented AAP at the early morning send-off ceremony for the 150 members of PNP-HPG assigned to manage traffic on EDSA.
At the sendoff ceremony, PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez told his men to do their best and that he trusted them to maintain competence and integrity on the job.
Marquez, head of the 160,000-strong national police force, warned his men not to accept bribes from erring motorists. He reminded them that technology (CCTV cameras) would magnify their actions a thousand times and that if any of them accepts a bribe, “You’re finished.” He also urged motorists to refrain from offering bribes to the police.
Last September 3, Angeles, together with AAP advocacies executive assistant Cynthia Reyes, provided copies of Republic Act 4136 (also known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code) as guidance and reference material to the HPG officers who will be dispatched to the six chokepoints of EDSA. AAP also donated breathalyzers for the use of the policemen who know how to use them.
Reyes said that the national auto club will be giving out more copies of R.A. 4136 as part of its assistance to the government’s effort in achieving a common goal, which is to ease the worsening traffic crisis in Metro Manila.
AAP is a private, non-stock, non-profit motoring club that has been coordinating with the government on matters affecting the interests of its members and the motoring public since its founding in 1931.