Don’t be surprised if your friendly Highway Patrol Group (HPG) traffic constable on EDSA appears with a fairer, more even and glowing skin in the days ahead.
They’ve just been Belo-fied!
Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Vicki Belo and daughter Cristalle on Monday braved morning traffic and motored to the HPG headquarters in Camp Crame (Quezon City) to personally hand over their donation of “beauty kits” for the 170 traffic constables manning Metro Manila’s busiest and most congested highway.
Each Belo kit contains an SPF 60 sun block lotion and Kojic lotion.
The HPG will also get a year-long supply of Belo skin care products.
The donation came about a week after HPG director, Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao, made a public appeal to help equip their constables with raincoats, boots, masks, vitamins and sunblock lotion to help protect them from the elements while on duty.
Belo, who said she is greatly affected by the EDSA gridlock, was elated after learning that the HPG was taking over the highway’s traffic management.
“When we heard that the HPG will be taking over, we know that they are very well trained and they have the authority… Alam niyo naman ang mga Pinoy [You know Filipinos], if they can get away [with it]…,” she told reporters.
“But I think they are more respected and will implement the rules equally. Lahat ng tao susunod kasi ang alam ko sa abroad, pag ini-implement halos lahat, naman ng Pinoy nagpapakabait pero dito sa Pilipinas, mga siga tayo so hindi nagpa-follow [Filipinos abroad follow the rules but here in the Philippines, we are all toughies here and we don’t follow rules],” Belo said.
She commended the HPG chief for recognizing the need for skin protection for his constables.
“I’m so happy that General Gunnacao is very aware that the sun is bad. Of course it’s not good to the skin, [you will have]hyper pigmentation. Ang sama ng pollution, ang init ng araw [Pollution and the heat are bad for you],’ Belo said.
The HPG spokesman, Supt. Oliver Tanseco, said a few adjustments have been made on Sunday in a bid to improve the flow of traffic on EDSA.
“We’ve implemented the adjustments. One of those we’ve done is move the U-turn slot in front of Trinoma [mall on North Avenue in Quezon City],” he added.
The 20 policemen from the Special Action Force who were detailed to the HPG are undergoing on-the-job training as traffic constables.
“But yesterday [Sunday] they attended a seminar with the LTO [Land Transportation Office] and they’ve taken exams with the LTO, meaning they can now apprehend motor vehicles violating traffic rules and issuing TOP [temporary operating permit]. We’re no longer going to issue a ticket, meaning we’ll now confiscate licenses and issue TOPs. Confiscated licenses will be redeemed from the LTO,” Tanseco said.
After reinstating road discipline along EDSA, an inter-agency team that was put in charge of solving Metro Manila’s traffic problem will take on secondary and feeder roads.
At the resumption of the joint hearing of the Senate committees on Economic Affairs and
Public Works, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, said they will begin clearing national roads near EDSA of illegally parked vehicles and illegally-built structures.
The cleared roads will be used as alternate routes to ease vehicle volume on EDSA.
Almendras said while there are laws against illegal parking, some local governments have come up with ordinances allowing overnight parking on public roads.
Nonetheless, he added, the task force will proceed with the clearing operation on roads classified as national roads.
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd suggested that instead of introducing drastic measures like the odd-even scheme or carpooling, the inter-agency task force should look at other options, such as declaring some roads and street in Metro Manila as no-parking zones.
Sotto said clearing secondary streets of illegally parked vehicles, and structures like barangay (village) halls, basketball courts, vulcanizing shops, canteens and other kinds of obstructions would help address the congestion problem.
“Unlike some of you here I drive my own car I don’t even have bodyguards so I know what traffic is all about,” Sotto said addressing the government officials who attended the hearing.
Illegal parking is rampant in Metro Manila despite the existing Memorandum Circular 9 of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) issued in 2010 and signed by the current chairman, Francis Tolentino.
Under the memorandum, “Any driver who shall illegally park his motor vehicle on any public road, street or thoroughfare in Metro Manila, shall pay a fine of P500. In addition thereto, a standard towing fee shall be collected by both government and private entities…”
Tolentino said the MMDA lacks tow trucks to remove illegally parked vehicles.
HPG Director Gunnacao backed Sotto’s proposal on illegally parked vehicles and asked lawmakers if there is possibility for them to come up with a measure that would control the sale of vehicles.
The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc.’s (Campi) said that 60 percent of vehicles or around 25,000 units sold in the country are in Metro Manila.
Gunnacao said the Christmas and Mabuhay lanes, which serve as alternate routes for private car owners, have not been effective in easing vehicle volume along major thoroughfares because of illegally parked vehicles and obstructions.
The HPG chief added that it would be better if Congress could enact a “no garage, no car” policy.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA