Traffic coding stays in effect on P.Noy’s 2nd SONA

By ANNA LIZA VILLAS
July 24, 2011, 6:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — The number coding scheme will be enforced on all major thoroughfares in Metro Manila as President Aquino delivers his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SoNA) Monday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Sunday.

“Only one of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila will be directly affected by the SoNA so we decided not to suspend the number coding implementation,” said MMDA Assistant General Manager and Spokeswoman Tina Velasco, referring to Quezon City where the President is scheduled to deliver his SoNA at 3 p.m.

Since the implementation of the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), also known as “number-coding,” will not be lifted 1,100 MMDA traffic enforcers will be deployed as early as 4 a.m. to guide motorists, Velasco said.

She said a traffic rerouting plan has been prepared in the vicinity of the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City where the President will deliver his SoNA before the joint session of Congress.

Tow trucks and emergency vehicles of the MMDA will also be on standby-alert ready to respond to any distress calls with the agency’s Metro Base monitoring traffic and personnel deployment on a round-the-clock basis, said Velasco.

Police will be in full force at the Batasan and other key places as Aquino delivers his SoNA.

The Eastern Police District (EPD) and Southern Police District (SPD) Sunday said security measures were in place around Batasan, where protest rallies are expected.

Supt. Marner B. Dasayon, chief of the EPD’s District Operations and Plans Divisions, said a special task force named “Kapayapaan,” composed of five task forces, has been activated by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) for Monday.

Aside from the huge contingent of police at Batasan, around 100 policemen from the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) will be assigned at the EDSA Shrine, Dasayon said.

He said the police chiefs of the cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan and Marikina will strictly enforce the No Permit, No Rally Policy. Demonstrations are allowed only in designated “freedom parks.”

“Activities of these groups or elements should be closely monitored as the SoNA activity may be taken advantage of by them or their nefarious motives,” Dasayon said.

Chief Inspector Jenny Tecson, chief of the SPD’s Public Information Office, said two police battalions from the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) composed of 312 men will be standing by for security and traffic control duties.

A day before the SoNA, community and student organizations criticized the Aquino administration for giving a low priority to education.

At a rally at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, Elmer Arisgado, spokesman of the Youth against Debt, (YAD) branded Aquino as an “accidental and incompetent’’ president who is riding high mainly on the popularity of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino.

Arisgado said the student leaders were frustrated by Aquino’s decision to cut the education budget from P1.3 billion in 2010 to P950 million in the current year.

Msgr. Juanito Figura, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general, said he will monitor the accomplishments of the administration.

“I still have to listen to his words and see if what he said regarding his accomplishments is really happening or not,” Figura said in an interview.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz wants to know what Aquino has to say about gambling in the country.

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