METRO MANILA, January 26, 2004 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - Metro Manila apparently carried the heaviest burden of the economic crisis in the country for the past three years.

Records from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) showed that there is a continued rise in the number of commercial establishments closing shop in the metropolis.

Based on data from the DOLE-Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES), economic problems forced 2,130 commercial firms in the National Capital Region to close shop in 2002, resulting in the retrenchment of 44,949 workers.

The figure was almost double the number of recorded closures in Metro Manila in 2000, which only reached 1,317 and displaced some 37,109 workers. In 2001, there were 1,719 firms that were shut down and 39,086 workers were laid off.

The closures in Metro Manila accounted for more than half of the total number of commercial firms that stopped operations and retrenched workers due to economic reasons nationwide.

From 2000 to 2002, a total of 219,579 workers were reportedly displaced following the closures of 8,520 commercial establishments nationwide.

Other regions with high percentage of firm closures and retrenchment during the three-year period were Southern Mindanao and Southern Tagalog.

MMDA issues guidelines to motorists for avoiding traffic jams The Philippine Star 01/26/2004

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday gave motorists tips on how to avoid causing traffic jams because of stalled vehicles. Stalled vehicles are among the causes of traffic jams in Metro Manila’s main thoroughfares like EDSA.

MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando said in his radio program on dzBB that stalled vehicles must be removed from the road in 15 minutes or else traffic will no longer be manageable.

Fernando’s tip to motorists include the following:

• Stalled vehicles on fly-overs cause the worst traffic jams on EDSA. Bring the vehicle down to the bottom of the flyover and wait there for the tow truck.

• If the vehicle could not be driven to the bottom of the flyover anymore, all the vehicle’s passengers must push it down.

• Don’t change a flat tire in the middle of the road. You could be sideswiped by other vehicles.

Starting today, Fernando added, all traffic enforcers and officials, including himself, will be bringing cables and ropes to help pull stalled vehicles off the road. — Nikko Dizon

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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