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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

EDSA TRAFFIC: METRO 'TRAFFIC DREAM' TO TAKE 15 YEARS, COST $65 B - STUDY


SEPTEMBER 7 -The report noted that traffic demand is at 12.8 million trips in Metro Manila and six million in the adjoining cities of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite. Philstar.com/File It could take another 15 years and $65.3 billion worth of investments to solve the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
This was contained in a NEDA study conducted with technical assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which recommended a roadmap for the implementation of a comprehensive Dream Plan by 2030 for Metro Manila and mega Manila to address the growing population and demand for better transport in the National Capital Region. At the time the study was conducted in 2014, the report described traffic congestion in Metro Manila and its peripheries as a major issue, which will become a major headache and nightmare if not acted on by the government. The report noted that traffic demand is at 12.8 million trips in Metro Manila and six million in the adjoining cities of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite. The trips are made mostly through public transport at 69 percent share of total trips while the rest are through private transport. “Yet it is this mode that takes up 78 percent of road space,” the report added, refering to private vehicles. It was noted that traffic volume “already exceeds road capacities in most of the urban road sections and congestion is felt all throughout the day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. READ MORE...

ALSO FIRST DAY OF HPG: EDSA traffic problem more of vehicle volume than discipline


SEPTEMBER 7 -OVERWHELMING ODDS – On day one of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group’s (PNP-HPG) deployment on EDSA, this lone traffic enforcer faces the multitude of vehicles near the corner of Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, hoping to put some order in one of six chokepoints largely blamed for the daily, horrendous traffic at the major thoroughfare that has immensely inconvenienced thousands of commuters and motorists. (Jojo Riñoza) PROBLEM MORE OF VOLUME THAN DISCIPLINE: Even the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has seen for itself that the horrendous traffic along EDSA is more than just a matter of discipline among motorists.
PNP-HPG spokesperson Supt. Oliver Tanseco admitted that while all vehicles stay on their proper lanes, the usual traffic buildup still occur due to huge number of cars plying EDSA. “I think it’s more of a volume than discipline,” Tanseco told Karen Davila in an interview on ANC’s Headstart. Tanseco, however, did not discount the role of discipline as a way to alleviate the worsening traffic situation in the metro. “We cannot solve the volume, it’s a policy change. But at least it will be a zone of discipline for every motorist, not only for the Filipinos to see but for the world to observe,” he added. Tanseco also urged the public to have an 'attitude change' toward the use of roads not only in EDSA but elsewhere. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Not fixed, after all; Palace admits inadequate roads, poor flood control are to blame


SEPTEMBER 12 -Morning gridlock. This picture taken around 6 a.m. on Friday shows the traffic buildup along Commonwealth in Quezon City. Lino Santos
THE severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila is caused by inadequate roads and poor flood control, the Palace said Friday. Malacanang’s admission ran counter to its declaration last Wednesday that the police takeover of traffic management on Edsa was “effective.”  “The severe traffic congestion that was triggered by heavy rains and flash floods clearly showed the inadequacy of existing road and flood control infrastructure that will take time to be scaled up,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a text message to the press. “Traffic enforcers will also have to work doubly hard to improve their responsiveness such that, if last Tuesday’s situation recurs, normal traffic flow may be restored more expeditiously,” Coloma said. Coloma also said the Metro Manila Development Authority has carried out its responsibilities in terms of flood control and drainage in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways, which is the lead agency in implementing the 20-year flood control master plan. Coloma said the MMDA has also been working with local government units in clearing road obstructions.READ MORE..RELATED-MMDA spending questioned amid traffic probe...

ALSO: Flash floods trigger Metro Manila ‘carmaggedon’
[The “carmageddon” in Metro Manila prompted other tired, hungry and angry commuters to express their frustration and anger on social media. “I left the office on Sept 8, I arrived home on Sept. 9,” best described the feeling of netizens.]


SEPTEMBER 10 -CHRISTMAS (CAR) LIGHTS ON EDSA This photo that went viral on social media on Tuesday night was taken at 10:30 p.m. at the peak of the traffic jam that turned Edsa into a giant parking lot and stranded tens of thousands of tired, hungry and angry motorists and commuters. It was taken by Myk Josh Wierzbicki from the 18th floor of Paragon Condominium Plaza on Edsa corner Reliance Street with a Samsung S3 smartphone. One commuter spent the first few hours of his birthday with strangers on a passenger bus, rather than with his loved ones at home, staying on the road from Sept. 8 to Sept. 9.
He was one of the thousands of commuters who spent the first hours of Sept. 9 in cars, taxis and jeepneys and on buses or, worse, on sidewalks waiting for a ride because of the horrendous traffic on Edsa and other major roads of Metro Manila on Tuesday night. The culprit: heavy flooding due to a sudden thunderstorm and the absence of traffic enforcers. The “carmageddon” in Metro Manila prompted other tired, hungry and angry commuters to express their frustration and anger on social media. “I left the office on Sept 8, I arrived home on Sept. 9,” best described the feeling of netizens. “7 p.m. umalis ng school tapos 1 a.m. nakauwi. Nag alay lakad makauwi lang. Palala na talaga ng palala. Solusyonan nyo yan! #Edsa #Traffic,” said netizen @iamprincessle. Because of the gridlock, Jean Avila later greeted a fellow passenger happy birthday on social media with a mix of Pinoy humor and irony. “Long live to those who grew roots on Edsa! Long live to those who caught the rays of the sun on East Avenue! And most importantly, long live to my co-passenger who was stuck on a bus until he celebrated his birthday because of the standstill traffic from Litex to Regalado [both in Quezon City]. Happy birthday to you, stranger! Mabuhay!” Avila said in a Facebook post. READ MORE...

ALSO 'Daang Matrapik': Only real solution to the traffic hell is 'Regime Change!'
[Daang Matrapik: An irate netizen vents his anger using a viral photo of Wednesday’s ‘carmagggedon’]


SEPTEMBER 11 -Daang Matrapik: A netizen vents his anger using a viral photo of Wednesday’s ‘carmagggedon’ and added text. (the blatant expletives deleted).
The real solution for metro Manila’ s traffic horror has been staring us in the face, as much as the on-and-off red brake lights had stared at you for four hours at EDSA the other night: Regime Change.
The solution is to remove President Aquino, who has been, as the country’s chief executive, totally responsible for this daily horror to millions of residents of metropolitan Manila. The solution is to prevent from ever assuming power over this nation his clone Manuel Roxas 2nd, or anybody remotely sharing this incompetent leader’s mentality.The biggest factor for the traffic horrors in metropolitan Manila has been Aquino’s utter failure to improve the infrastructure that would have de-clogged EDSA, mainly the MRT-3 that runs along EDSA which had functioned quite well under the previous administrations and had carried millions of Filipinos swiftly and safely to work.
I was stunned that the business community’s favorite Cabinet member, Rene Almendras, would have this hare-brained idea that the 45-man Highway Patrol Group of mostly beer-bellied motorcycle riders would solve the problem. Did Almendras think this feared group — known for decades as having members with links to car napping syndicates and as a motorcycle-escort group you contract for tourist buses and for wedding and funeral convoys – would instill terror among traffic violators and thereby solve the traffic problem? That is the kind of batty solutions we will expect under an Aquino or an Aquino 2.0 regime. CONTINUE READING... RELATED -Palace blames heavy rains for 'carmageddon'; asks commuters for 'kind understanding'

ALSO: Abaya caught in 3 rail controversies


SEPTEMBER 11 -ABAYA Defying Congress calls for openness, transport officials continued this week secret contracting for a P4.25-billion rehab of the MRT-3 commuter rail.
Transport Sec. Joseph Abaya also figured in two more storms over Metro Manila’s railways. He was caught contriving a P7.5-billion reimbursement to the LRT-1 extension contractor who wasn’t even asking for it. And the MRT-3 prototype coach he has been bragging about finally arrived from China – but would not run because engineless. Subalterns representing Abaya at Monday’s House of Reps hearing refused to divulge what companies they were talking with for the MRT-3. U-Sec. Jose Perpetuo Lotilla and Director Renato San Jose invoked the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2004 for their secrecy. This drew jeers from congressmen and other attendees of the committee on Metro Manila development, chaired by Rep. Winston Castelo (Quezon City). Lawyers among them pointed out that the law was passed precisely to make government contracting more transparent. Party-list Reps. Jonathan dela Cruz (Abakada) and Terry Ridon (Kabataan) called for a new hearing exclusively on the validity of the closed-door negotiating. Echoing Abaya’s earlier justifications, Lotilla said the negotiations came about due to the emergency nature of the rehab and the failure of two public biddings for the P2.27-billion maintenance. Dela Cruz pooh-poohed the alibis. He said the multiyear duration of the rehab components belies the emergency situation. The maintenance of the railway and the overhaul of 43 coaches are for three years, while the replacement of the signaling system is for two years. Besides, dela Cruz said, Congress had approved and budgeted the works as far back as 2014 and early 2015. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Metro ‘traffic dream’ to take 15 years, cost $65 B – study


The report noted that traffic demand is at 12.8 million trips in Metro Manila and six million in the adjoining cities of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 14, 2015, (PHILSTAR)  By Christina Mendez - It could take another 15 years and $65.3 billion worth of investments to solve the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

This was contained in a NEDA study conducted with technical assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which recommended a roadmap for the implementation of a comprehensive Dream Plan by 2030 for Metro Manila and mega Manila to address the growing population and demand for better transport in the National Capital Region.

At the time the study was conducted in 2014, the report described traffic congestion in Metro Manila and its peripheries as a major issue, which will become a major headache and nightmare if not acted on by the government.

The report noted that traffic demand is at 12.8 million trips in Metro Manila and six million in the adjoining cities of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite. The trips are made mostly through public transport at 69 percent share of total trips while the rest are through private transport.

“Yet it is this mode that takes up 78 percent of road space,” the report added, refering to private vehicles.

It was noted that traffic volume “already exceeds road capacities in most of the urban road sections and congestion is felt all throughout the day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

READ MORE...

“Traffic congestion does not only reduce the travel speed of road users but also increases uncertainty to distinctions and punctuality in transport operation,” the report added.

“If nothing is done, the situation in 2030 will become a nightmare. All roads will be saturated. Negative impact on economic, social and environmental aspects will be so large, deterring the function and livability of Metro Manila,” the report added.

The same report showed the transport cost of road users, including vehicle operating cost and time cost, is pegged at P2.4 billion a day in Metro Manila. The amount will increase to P6 billion day by 2030 if the government and the private sector will not act on the problems today.

If no interventions are made, the study showed the average low-income households will have to spend no less than 20 percent of their monthly household income for transport.

If Metro Manila’s current transport system is not improved, roads and railways will be insufficient in solving traffic congestion, the report said.

The study discussed the three “interrelated” major urban problems in Metro Manila, namely, traffic congestion, natural disasters (flood, earthquake, typhoon and landslide, etc), and affordable housing (slum/squatter areas).

The Dream Plan Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs, has set a hearing at 1 p.m. today for updates on the administration’s implementation of the Dream Plan 2030 under the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and surrounding areas (Region 3 and Region 4-A).

Apart from Aquino, Sen. Grace Poe has also expressed concern over the impact of heavy traffic on the economy. Poe has vowed to look into the developments in the attempts of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to rehabilitate MRT-3 railway system to ensure safety of the riding public.


ABS-CBN

HPG: EDSA traffic problem more of vehicle volume than discipline Posted at 09/07/2015 1:25 PM 849

 

OVERWHELMING ODDS – On day one of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group’s (PNP-HPG) deployment on EDSA, this lone traffic enforcer faces the multitude of vehicles near the corner of Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, hoping to put some order in one of six chokepoints largely blamed for the daily, horrendous traffic at the major thoroughfare that has immensely inconvenienced thousands of commuters and motorists. PHOTO BY Jojo Riñoza, MANILA BULLETIN --PROBLEM MORE OF VOLUME THANEven the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has seen for itself that the horrendous traffic along EDSA is more than just a matter of discipline among motorists.

PNP-HPG spokesperson Supt. Oliver Tanseco admitted that while all vehicles stay on their proper lanes, the usual traffic buildup still occur due to huge number of cars plying EDSA.

“I think it’s more of a volume than discipline,” Tanseco told Karen Davila in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.

Tanseco, however, did not discount the role of discipline as a way to alleviate the worsening traffic situation in the metro.

“We cannot solve the volume, it’s a policy change. But at least it will be a zone of discipline for every motorist, not only for the Filipinos to see but for the world to observe,” he added.

Tanseco also urged the public to have an 'attitude change' toward the use of roads not only in EDSA but elsewhere.


MANILA STANDARD

Not fixed, after all By Sandy Araneta, Joel E. Zurbano | Sep. 12, 2015 at 12:01am


Morning gridlock. This picture taken around 6 a.m. on Friday shows the traffic buildup along Commonwealth in Quezon City. Lino Santos

Palace admits inadequate roads, poor flood control are to blame

THE severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila is caused by inadequate roads and poor flood control, the Palace said Friday.

Malacanang’s admission ran counter to its declaration last Wednesday that the police takeover of traffic management on Edsa was “effective.”

“The severe traffic congestion that was triggered by heavy rains and flash floods clearly showed the inadequacy of existing road and flood control infrastructure that will take time to be scaled up,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a text message to the press.

“Traffic enforcers will also have to work doubly hard to improve their responsiveness such that, if last Tuesday’s situation recurs, normal traffic flow may be restored more expeditiously,” Coloma said.

Coloma also said the Metro Manila Development Authority has carried out its responsibilities in terms of flood control and drainage in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways, which is the lead agency in implementing the 20-year flood control master plan.

Coloma said the MMDA has also been working with local government units in clearing road obstructions.

READ MORE...

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, on the other hand, said the Palace may call meetings with the MMDA and local government officials to account for their failing to take preventive steps to clear drainage systems and road obstructions.

“Perhaps that can be a discussion for a later time. Right now efforts are concentrated on measures to alleviate the situation,” Valte said.

Valte said among the issues to be discussed will be the removal by the DPWH of obstructions on main roads and alternative routes, which is being done right now to improve traffic flow on EDSA.

In a speech before the delegates of the 23rd Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, President Benigno Aquino III said a task force of different agencies was “hard at work to alleviate traffic along Metro Manila’s thoroughfares.”

Aquino said critical transport infrastructure like seaports, airports, bus terminals, and light rail transport, continue to be upgraded.

He also said big-ticket projects for transportation systems are in the pipeline.

The chief of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group said Friday there was a slight improvement in traffic flow along Edsa, where travel time was cut by about 10 minutes.

“So far, we achieved the objective of cutting the travel time of motorists by at least 10 to 15 minutes in some areas of Edsa. We will also work on the technical or the engineering aspect,” said PNP-HPG chief Arnold Gunnacao following a meeting at the MMDA in Makati City.

Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras led the five-hour meeting held at the MMDA Metrobase Traffic Operations Center in Makati City.

The meeting started at 1:30 p.m. but MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino arrived late at 5 p.m. No reason was given, and Almendras refused to talk with the media after the meeting.

Gunnacao said that while the traffic situation improved in Balintawak going to Quezon Boulevard, congestion remained heavy in Cubao, Ortigas and Shaw Boulevard because vehicles were using single-artery roads after passing Edsa.

“We have to adjust more. There are plans to close all U-turn slots, particularly in the areas of Trinoma [North Avenue Edsa] because when the buses stop, the private vehicles in the back are affected,” he said.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

MMDA spending questioned amid traffic probe ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 09/07/2015 4:16 PM 63413


SCREENGRAB: Rep. Rodolfo Biazon

Amid the hype over the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) taking over the EDSA traffic management, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon has urged the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to show where its funds are spent.

"Can we get an accounting in the expenditures of the fund of MMDA? That fund is intended for the jurisdiction of Metro Manila," Biazon said as he referred to the activities of MMDA chair Francis Tolentino outside the metro.

Speaking before the House committee on Metro Manila development, Biazon said that the MMDA should produce such an accounting for "not serving the constituents of Metro Manila."

"Why is he trying to solve the traffic of Legazpi when we have our own problem here?" Biazon asked, citing Tolentino's donation of traffic lights to the local government of Legazpi City in Albay.

MMDA Asst. Gen. Manager Atty. Emerson Carlos explained that the donated traffic lights were the old ones rendered for disposal as a result of the agency's upgrading of traffic lights in the metro.

Biazon, however, told Carlos that such disposal of government property should be within the Commission on Audit's (COA) sanctions and thus the agency must include it in the requested report.


INQUIRER

Flash floods trigger Metro Manila ‘carmaggedon’ By: Jeannette I. Andrade and Ramon Royandoyan, Kristine Felisse Mangunay, Maricar B. Brizuela @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Social Media, Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:11 AM September 10th, 2015

‘I LEFT OFFICE ON SEPT. 8; I GOT HOME ON SEPT. 9’


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON EDSA This photo that went viral on social media on Tuesday night was taken at 10:30 p.m. at the peak of the traffic jam that turned Edsa into a giant parking lot and stranded tens of thousands of tired, hungry and angry motorists and commuters. It was taken by Myk Josh Wierzbicki from the 18th floor of Paragon Condominium Plaza on Edsa corner Reliance Street with a Samsung S3 smartphone.

One commuter spent the first few hours of his birthday with strangers on a passenger bus, rather than with his loved ones at home, staying on the road from Sept. 8 to Sept. 9.

He was one of the thousands of commuters who spent the first hours of Sept. 9 in cars, taxis and jeepneys and on buses or, worse, on sidewalks waiting for a ride because of the horrendous traffic on Edsa and other major roads of Metro Manila on Tuesday night.

The culprit: heavy flooding due to a sudden thunderstorm and the absence of traffic enforcers.

The “carmageddon” in Metro Manila prompted other tired, hungry and angry commuters to express their frustration and anger on social media.

“I left the office on Sept 8, I arrived home on Sept. 9,” best described the feeling of netizens.

“7 p.m. umalis ng school tapos 1 a.m. nakauwi. Nag alay lakad makauwi lang. Palala na talaga ng palala. Solusyonan nyo yan! #Edsa #Traffic,” said netizen @iamprincessle.

Because of the gridlock, Jean Avila later greeted a fellow passenger happy birthday on social media with a mix of Pinoy humor and irony.

“Long live to those who grew roots on Edsa! Long live to those who caught the rays of the sun on East Avenue! And most importantly, long live to my co-passenger who was stuck on a bus until he celebrated his birthday because of the standstill traffic from Litex to Regalado [both in Quezon City]. Happy birthday to you, stranger! Mabuhay!” Avila said in a Facebook post.

READ MORE...

Tarmac flooded

Even Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the last place supposed to be flooded, was under water, delaying domestic and international flights. Floodwater was waist-level on the tarmac.

Naia sources said the Parañaque River overflow would not have flooded the tarmac had a portion of an open creek along Andrews Avenue not been reclaimed and paved for a road-widening project.

The weather bureau recorded 61 milliliters per hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the heaviest rainfall it recorded so far this month in Metro Manila.

Benison Estareja, weather specialist at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said the “intense rainfall” was not new, especially during this time of the year.

Pagasa Science Garden in Quezon City recorded 78.8 ml for three hours from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the amount considered torrential rains. The rains were most intense from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. when 40 ml were recorded in that hour.

The intense rainfall, however, was limited to certain parts of Metro Manila.

Part of Ayala dry

An Inquirer editor, who took Ayala Avenue in Makati instead of the flooded South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) at the Buendia area to avoid flooded streets, was surprised to find that the section of the avenue at Rustan’s going to Edsa was dry.

He was also surprised to find that the Edsa-Ayala intersection was clogged with vehicles as no one was directing traffic, and motorists, when left to their own devices, tried to get his or her way. It took him three hours and 45 minutes to get home to Muntinlupa City, a trip that usually takes about 50 minutes.

The drop-dead traffic in Makati was mostly due to the flooding of major streets, said the Makati Public Safety Assistance (Mapsa) department.

Downpour at 7 p.m.

Mapsa officer in charge Elmer Cabrera said the traffic was manageable around 4 to 5 p.m. But when the rain poured around 7 p.m., he said floodwaters rose in roads such as Chino Roces Avenue, Buendia, Mayapis, Malugay, Vito Cruz Extension, Washington and Yakal. These became impassable to light vehicles, causing standstill traffic in most areas.

“Most motorists with small cars stopped along the roads where there were floods, blocking intersections and other vehicles,” Cabrera said.

Sen. Francis Escudero recalled that he was stuck on the northbound lane of Edsa for three hours, and one hour of that was spent in front of the Megamall area.

Escudero said that during that time, he did not see one member of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) or the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) on the thoroughfare.

Never again

Sixty-four-year-old Armando Carlos, who had errands to run in Makati and was expecting to reach his Las Piñas City home in an hour or so from there, ended up stuck on Edsa southbound around 9 p.m.

As soon as he got home he swore never again to leave his house and go to places “far away” when it rains “even just a bit.”

“That’s what I said to myself. My gosh, what happened to me was horrible. Can you imagine? I got home past 12 midnight already,” Carlos said.

Standstill

Around midnight, the Makati Central Business District was still at a complete standstill, especially along Makati Avenue, Ayala Avenue and Buendia.

Carlos said during that time, traffic was at a virtual standstill from Edsa-Ayala to Edsa-Magallanes.

When he got to Macapagal Avenue “several hours later,” he said traffic was again at a standstill. “It’s like everywhere you looked, everywhere you went, it was just a sea of vehicles.”

Mike Moreno, who goes to school in Makati, reported seeing around 30 people walking in a single file on the Edsa-Magallanes flyover going to Taft Avenue past 10 p.m.

“Apparently, they became impatient because the traffic in the area was just horrible,” said Moreno, who was in a public shuttle on Edsa on his way home to Las Piñas.

Moreno said some impatient drivers, who were fed up with the “standstill,” would honk their horns “from time to time.”

He said inside the shuttle, some passengers, apparently aware of the long hours they would have to spend seated, had taken to sleeping or watching a movie on their gadgets.

All in all, Moreno said his trip to Las Piñas, which usually lasts an hour or “even less than an hour,” lasted almost four hours.

“This was the worst traffic I experienced in the years I have used the same route,” Moreno said.

On Macapagal Avenue, where it was “raining cats and dogs” around 9 p.m., an employee, who works in the Senate and refused to be identified, reported seeing people walking on the sides of the road in the area.

Woman in a pothole

She said she even saw a woman fall into what appeared to be an open pothole as she was crossing from one point of Macapagal Avenue to the other.

“There was floodwater, maybe ankle-deep. When she got to the other end near Shakey’s, if before I could see her entire body from where I was, I suddenly saw only half of her body,” she said, noting that even the woman’s umbrella was turned upside down.

She said the woman just stood up and walked away, as she fixed her umbrella.

The Senate employee said what was supposed to be a less than an hour trip to Las Piñas at that time took almost two hours.

For Moreno, the absence of a “flood management system” could be blamed for the ordeal commuters had to go through on Tuesday night.

He said upon reaching the SLEx, he saw floodwaters in front of Asia Pacific College in Magallanes that caused vehicles passing there to stop.

Too much to handle

“Traffic authorities can only do so much. There are things that are beyond their control. If it’s flooded in an area, cars will have to stop, so most of the time that results in traffic,” he said.

Mapsa’s Cabrera said more than 100 traffic enforcers were deployed to help manage traffic and allow bigger vehicles to go through flooded roads while the small ones were allowed to park on the side streets.

“Some were able to pass but there were still other motorists who did not follow and just parked their cars along the road,” he said.

Asked if the flood control measures of the city worked on Tuesday, Cabrera said these were in place but the volume of the rain was too much to handle.

The MMDA said it had prepositioned flood control teams to the flooded areas in case of another heavy downpour.

“Our flood control group will also utilize submersible pumps,” said the MMDA Traffic Discipline head, Cris Saruca.

Asked why these were not in place on Tuesday night, he blamed the rainfall volume, saying that even though drainages were cleared, the volume was just too much.

Stress

Commuter Jolord Rapada thought the traffic meant something else. “Sa totoo lang mas nakakapagod pa yung traffic kesa sa mismong work mo (Truth be told, traffic is more tiring than work),” he said.

“Metro Manila traffic is a horrible cancer-causing element of stress because there is just nothing to hope,” posted social humorist @krizzy_kalerqui.

It was easy to tell where the traffic was worst by the hashtags that trended at the height of the flood—#Edsa #traffic #Magallanes #Baclaran #Buendia and #Fairview.

For many netizens, the heavy rains warranted a last-minute change of plans.

“Wanna go somewhere… far from here. Pero traffic daw sa edsa kaya wag nalang,” tweeted AmazingGrace.

Sea of red lights

“A sea of red lights. Halalalalalalala. Ano to? It’s 12:22am,” actress Anne Curtis said on Twitter.

Netizen Pristine offered a moment of reflection for everybody. “Sinong nagsabing mahirap ang Pilipinas?! Daming kotse niyan o. #EDSA #traffic #sarcastic (Whoever said the Philippines is poor? Look at those cars),” he said.

“Mrt till shaw mrt lng due to heavy rain my first walk shaw edsa to condo :(,” lamented Gab de dios.

Netizen Jayvee Ruru Elizalde voiced what was on the minds of commuters on Tuesday night.

“EDSA anu ba! Alas dos na ng madaling araw pero hindi paren ako nakakauwe. Forever na talaga tayo! Forever may traffic! Grrh #EDSA #traffic (Edsa! It’s already 2 a.m. and I haven’t arrived home.)

For ijae, he witnessed Edsa transform into “the biggest parking lot in the world.”

Like sore eyes

“3 hours and counting. Hell on earth! #traffic #edsa,” said gino john, who was among those who braved the Edsa commute.

Netizen JOX thought his predicament deserved a joke. “Kung yung mga kotse nga sa Edsa hindi padin maka-move on, ikaw pa kaya? #traffic #EDSA #EDSALangAngMay4ever #WalangPasokBukas (Can you even move on with life if cars in Edsa can’t even move),” he said.

“Ang #traffic sa #EDSA parang #soreeyes nakakairita (Edsa traffic is like sore eyes, it’s irritating),” Noel Castro said.—With reports from Dona Pazzibugan, Leila B. Salaverria, and Karl Angelica Ocampo


MANILA TIMES

Only real solution to the traffic hell: Regime Change
September 11, 2015 12:14 am RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

The real solution for metro Manila’ s traffic horror has been staring us in the face, as much as the on-and-off red brake lights had stared at you for four hours at EDSA the other night: Regime Change.

The solution is to remove President Aquino, who has been, as the country’s chief executive, totally responsible for this daily horror to millions of residents of metropolitan Manila. The solution is to prevent from ever assuming power over this nation his clone Manuel Roxas 2nd, or anybody remotely sharing this incompetent leader’s mentality.

The biggest factor for the traffic horrors in metropolitan Manila has been Aquino’s utter failure to improve the infrastructure that would have de-clogged EDSA, mainly the MRT-3 that runs along EDSA which had functioned quite well under the previous administrations and had carried millions of Filipinos swiftly and safely to work.

I was stunned that the business community’s favorite Cabinet member, Rene Almendras, would have this hare-brained idea that the 45-man Highway Patrol Group of mostly beer-bellied motorcycle riders would solve the problem.

Did Almendras think this feared group — known for decades as having members with links to car napping syndicates and as a motorcycle-escort group you contract for tourist buses and for wedding and funeral convoys – would instill terror among traffic violators and thereby solve the traffic problem?

That is the kind of batty solutions we will expect under an Aquino or an Aquino 2.0 regime.

READ MORE...

If the HPG fails, would Aquino order the SAF to EDSA with their Armalites?

That we were approaching a traffic Armageddon had been clear since the late 1990s. This prodded the Ramos administrations to prioritize the building of the mass transit system along EDSA (MRT-3) and along the Aurora Boulevard
(LRT-2).

The Arroyo regime continued Ramos’ projects to complete LRT-2’s Santolan (Pasig) to Cubao section and from Cubao to Legarda section. Arroyo also ordered built massive pumping stations in Manila to quickly remove floodwaters that had been the source of horrendous traffic over the years.

Daang Matrapik: A netizen vents his anger using this viral photo of Wednesday’s ‘carmagggedon’.


Daang Matrapik: A netizen vents his anger using a viral photo of Wednesday’s ‘carmagggedon’ with added angry text (we attempted to mask blatant the expletives on this netizen's photo).

Yet what did Aquino and his sidekick Roxas do as soon as they assumed office? For some inexplicable reason, Aquino stopped completing the new C-6 circumferential road Ramos started, so that even the C-5 which you were supposed to travel through to avoid the EDSA traffic is often as clogged.

Aquino junked unilaterally in 2010 a project to be undertaken by a top Belgian engineering firm, almost totally funded by the Belgian government’s cheap official development assistance loans, to dredge the Laguna Bay and the canals leading to it so that floodwaters in Metro Manila would flow swiftly to that basin.

Flood-control project stopped

Aquino alleged that it involved graft by this predecessor, and even defied a resolution in the House of Representatives asking him to continue the project.

After five years, the Ombudsman hasn’t even bothered to assign a single lawyer to investigate Aquino’s allegations, although this administration succeeded in getting one of the champions of the project Laguna governor “ER” Ejercito removed form office.

We will soon lose the P7 billion case the Belgian firm filed against us for the project’s cancellation at the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

The project would have been finished two years ago, and Aquino had not undertaken any initiative to replace that Belgian project. As a result, just half an hour of heavy rains flooded strategic areas of Manila the other night, the trigger for the five-hour paralysis of Manila.

Second, Aquino grossly mismanaged the MRT-3, so that it now is close to completely breaking down, and now carries just a tenth of the daily commuters during the previous administration. The kilometer-long queues to get on MRT-3, its slowness because its wheels had been worn out of shape, fewer train cars as most could no longer be repaired, bent car rails, all these reduced the commuters it could carry, so that more buses, “FX” vehicles, and private cars have clogged EDSA.

Canadian aircraft-maker Bombardier’s engineers who were initially hired to maintain the signaling system they built left in a huff in 2013 when they stopped receiving their fees. Now, instead of relying on high-tech sensors along the lines feeding into a computer that Bombardier had put in place, the trains’ drivers, would you believe, now resort to cheap walkie-talkies to warn the next station of their arrivals.

With the deterioration of the trains, middle class employees who had been using the MRT-3 had no choice but to purchase cheap Korean-made cars to commute to their offices, while their richer counterparts bought second cars to evade the color-coding scheme.

But Aquino stupidly said the increase in car sales is proof of economic growth. That remark revealed how low this government had prioritized the tariff problem – which Secretary Emilio Abaya’s more recent traffic-isn’t-fatal remark confirmed.
Roxas, as transport and communications secretary until October 2012, delayed for months the renewal of the maintenance contract for MRT-3 by the Japanese consortium Mitsubishi-Sumitomo, which built and had been running the system for a decade. Sumitomo in fact it had been boasting over its MRT-3’s performance for years as its sales pitch to sell similar systems to cities abroad.

Two days after Roxas left office, the P1.2 billion maintenance contract was given to a shadowy consortium of local companies. It was later unearthed that it had the relative of MRT manager Al Vitangcol and a known Liberal Party financial supporter as its incorporators.

The Ombudsman filed charges of graft on this contract in July this year against Vitangol and the owners of the contractor for corruption, four years after the allegations were raised.

Instead of buying Czech train cars that had proven their worth after ten years, the DOTC is now hoping that the MRT-3 would still be operating officially on the cars it ordered from a company in Aquino’s favorite county, China.

The firm though had never built the kind of train cars MRT-3 uses, and the proto-type would arrive only next month for testing. (I hope the Chinese don’t use a commercial contract to get back at Aquino, just as it did in 2013 when it held up our banana exports, on flimsy grounds that these needed extra inspection for some plant disease.)

Subsequent events and disclosures point to why the Czech company isn’t supplying the MRT-3’s trains.

The Czech ambassador to Manila, Josef Rhyctar alleged that DOTC officials led by – again – DOTC official Vitangcol were demanding $30 million in grease-money if they wanted the business.

First time in diplomatic history

That is the first time in the two centuries of diplomatic history that an ambassador has accused the officials of the host country of corruption.


Photos of MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III (from MRT3-DOTC) and Czech ambassador Josef Rychtar (from the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila) Rychtar submitted an affidavit to the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability claiming that the first extortion attempt took place on July 9, 2009 during his dinner with Vitangcol, Inekon Group board chairman Josef Husek, another Inekon executive named Haloun, businessman Wilson de Vera, and a certain Marlo dela Cruz. FROM INTERAKSYON April 7, 2014 6:22 PM

This will be the first President after Marcos (who built and finished LRT-1) who will not inaugurate a single new rail line, even as the detailed plans for these had been made years ago.

The Arroyo administration built in 18 months several kilometers of light railway for LRT-1 and MRT-3 to meet at North Avenue, so that travellers from the north could ride the Balintawak station and get off at Ayala or at Baclaran.

They don’t want to or they can’t since after five years, the Aquino administration hasn’t built the common station between the two lines at North Avenue, so that they use cars or even decrepit jeepneys to travel along EDSA. Why?

Aquino suddenly ordered the plans changed: instead of having the common station at the SM Mall, according to the plan approved by his predecessor, the common station would now be at the Ayala’s Trinoma. SM has sued, course. Now it would take years for the suit to be resolved, unless a powerful president with no love lost with the Ayalas, intervenes.

Roxas 2nd was DOTC secretary for two years during which he could have laid down a firm plan for the improvement of the mass-transit systems in metro Manila. After all, he is the right-hand man of, and even half the brain (the other half is Abad) of Aquino — who is ultimately responsible for the hell that is EDSA everyday for millions of Filipinos.

Yet he has the gall to ask Filipinos to elect him as president next year?

He with his boss Aquino should be put in jail for criminal negligence that has resulted in billions of pesos in economic activity lost, for the suffering of a million working Filipinos who commute to work along EDSA every day.

Yet he has the gall to claim that our country needs another six years of Daang Matuwid, when it has been proved beyond the shadow of a doubt to be Daang Matrapik!

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Palace blames heavy rains for 'carmageddon'; asks commuters for 'understanding'

ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 09/09/2015 9:11 PM | Updated as of 09/09/2015 9:26 PM


MALACANAN PALACE LOGO

MANILA - The Palace on Wednesday said it is seeking the "kind understanding" of thousands of commuters and motorists who were either stranded or stuck for hours in gridlocks across Metro Manila.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, in a statement on the "carmageddon" that struck the metropolis Tuesday night until the early hours of Wednesday, said "government's efforts to improve traffic flow along EDSA and major thoroughfares were greatly hindered last night by heavy rains and flash floods that were experienced during the rush hour of homeward-bound commuting."

"We understand the plight of many who were stranded and delayed considerably in reaching their homes and destinations and we seek their kind understanding," he added.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways is working on clearing and expanding the holding capacity of drainage systems.

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"HPG [Highway Police Group] Director Chief Superintendent Arnold Gunnacao said that HPG personnel diverted traffic on flooded streets to alternate routes. MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that traffic enforcers were deployed even past midnight to assist in normalizing traffic flow," Coloma added, regarding the Tuesday night traffic jams.

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, meanwhile, said various government agencies are now working together to address the traffic situation in Metro Manila.

"The past two days are proof that the initial steps being taken to ease the traffic situation were effective, and government will continue to strive to improve our interaction and interoperability among concerned government agencies," he said.

"We continue to appeal to the public for their cooperation in following traffic rules and regulations that greatly impacts traffic flow and management."


PHILSTAR

Abaya caught in 3 rail controversies GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 11, 2015 - 12:00am 0 9 googleplus0 0


ABAYA

Defying Congress calls for openness, transport officials continued this week secret contracting for a P4.25-billion rehab of the MRT-3 commuter rail.

Transport Sec. Joseph Abaya also figured in two more storms over Metro Manila’s railways.

He was caught contriving a P7.5-billion reimbursement to the LRT-1 extension contractor who wasn’t even asking for it. And the MRT-3 prototype coach he has been bragging about finally arrived from China – but would not run because engineless.

Subalterns representing Abaya at Monday’s House of Reps hearing refused to divulge what companies they were talking with for the MRT-3. U-Sec. Jose Perpetuo Lotilla and Director Renato San Jose invoked the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2004 for their secrecy.

This drew jeers from congressmen and other attendees of the committee on Metro Manila development, chaired by Rep. Winston Castelo (Quezon City).

Lawyers among them pointed out that the law was passed precisely to make government contracting more transparent.

Party-list Reps. Jonathan dela Cruz (Abakada) and Terry Ridon (Kabataan) called for a new hearing exclusively on the validity of the closed-door negotiating.

Echoing Abaya’s earlier justifications, Lotilla said the negotiations came about due to the emergency nature of the rehab and the failure of two public biddings for the P2.27-billion maintenance.

Dela Cruz pooh-poohed the alibis. He said the multiyear duration of the rehab components belies the emergency situation.

The maintenance of the railway and the overhaul of 43 coaches are for three years, while the replacement of the signaling system is for two years. Besides, dela Cruz said, Congress had approved and budgeted the works as far back as 2014 and early 2015.

READ MORE...

Dela Cruz added that the two failed biddings were only for the three-year P2.27-billion maintenance. The law allows consequent negotiations, but only under the same terms of reference. The P4.25-billion rehab, of which the maintenance became only one of four components, is under a totally new TOR.

Ridon suspects the P4.25 billion will be awarded to a consortium brokered by Abaya’s Liberal Party mate Marlo dela Cruz (not related to the congressman). As LP acting president, Abaya is raising campaign funds for the 2016 general election.

He has awarded billions to unqualified yet well-connected companies represented by Marlo dela Cruz. (Incidentally, certain DOTC contractors have been pressuring this writer to stop mentioning Marlo dela Cruz. They may want to coerce the Leftist congressman instead.)

Congressman dela Cruz said Abaya and Lotilla were trying to fool Congress even about their attendance. He quoted Lotilla as saying Abaya was absent from the House because he had to attend a simultaneous Senate hearing on Metro Manila’s traffic crisis. It turned out that he snubbed the Senate as well.

Senators Grace Poe and Nancy Binay that Monday also visited the MRT-3 depot in Quezon City to inspect the prototype coach delivered by China’s Dalian Corp. After which, they emphasized the need for Abaya to be candid about the parties he was negotiating with. Their plea apparently was unheeded.

Significantly, the prototype coach, because engineless, had not been tested for 5,000 kilometers. This is in breach of the 2003 supply contract for 54 brand new coaches.

Rep. Edgardo Erice (LP) at first said the 5,000-km test run can be done in Manila, until a colleague pointed out the contract proviso that it should have been tested before delivery.

In a separate venue Abaya said the traction motors ordered from Germany will be installed by Oct., and three prototypes would be running by Jan. 2016.

A railway engineer doubted how the three prototypes could be ready by then, if the test runs are done on MRT-3 tracks. Drawing a rough time-and-motion, he told The STAR that the MRT-3 tracks are only 16 km long, 32 if round trip. “How many hours will they do it every night, when the regular trains are off, to complete the 5,000 km?” he explained. “It cannot be the whole night, because after every 150 km they have to test the bogies (wheels), signaling system, electronic connectors, and electrical parts.”

The tests could imperil night motorists along busy Epifanio delos Santos Avenue below the MRT-3, as the prototypes should run up to 65 kph. The dilapidated tracks could give way, the engineer said, if the time that should be spent inspecting them are used up on the test runs. The coaches could derail and fall off the elevated tracks onto cars below.

Meanwhile, the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), contractor of the 11-km LRT-1 extension denied that it was collecting P7.5 billion in damages and penalties from the DOTC. Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments that owns 55 percent of LRMC, said they have yet to take over the railways, so have no reason to collect anything. LRMC’s other shareholders are the Ayala Group, 35 percent, and an Australian rail company, 10 percent.

In a separate interview with another newspaper, President Noynoy Aquino said he has been informed of the consortium’s collection of P7.5-billion damages and penalties, but that it still is subject to arbitration.

Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima was quoted in the same report as emphasizing the need to abide by the contract provisos on damages and penalties in case the government fails to deliver its commitments, such as rights-of-way, and seismic and fire safety.

Asked about the conflicting statements, a Malacañang technical consultant pointed to Abaya as the culprit. “Mr. Pangilinan and the President both are telling the truth,” the insider said. “The former truly is not asking for anything, but Abaya (falsely) has told the latter that the LRMC is demanding payment.”

A DOTC source also confirmed that Abaya had written Budget Sec. Florencio Abad last month to release the P7.5 billion. This puts in question what Abaya is up to, the Malacañang consultant said.

The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan had exposed last week Abaya’s intended P7.5-billion recompense. The group’s head Renato Reyes denounced the scheme as an unconstitutional sovereign guarantee.

Interviewed simultaneously with Reyes over Ted Failon’s top-rating radio-TV morning talk show, Abaya stumbled in explaining the letter to Abad. When told that Reyes’ copy of the letter was unsigned and the barcode was blotted out, he hammered on that point. Pressed by Failon if it was intent nonetheless to pay the P7.25 billion, Abaya mumbled something about having to consult his staff first.

Like the P4.25-billion MRT-3 rehab, Abaya has kept the P7.5-billion reimbursement from the public websites.


By Jarius Bondoc (GOTCHA!)

* * *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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