MMDA eyes twice-a-week number coding scheme

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) — Twice-a-week number coding for every vehicle.

This is the plan the Metro Manila Development Authority is studying to help address the traffic situation in the country.

"Siguro pwede namang konting sakripisyo pa para sa lahat, baka pwede gawin two days out of every week ang hindi paggamit ng sasakyan," said MMDA Chairman Danny Lim in an inquiry by the House Committee on Transportation Wednesday.

[Translation: Maybe everyone should sacrifice a little bit, maybe we can avoid using our cars two days out of every week.]

Lim explained there are not enough roads in Metro Manila to accommodate all vehicles.

"We have more than 30 percent of vehicles na nagsama-sama sa less than five percent na road network. So volume, problema talagang kailangan mabawasan 'yan," he said.

[Translation: We have more than 30 percent of vehicles that clump together in less than five percent of our road networks. So volume is a problem we really need to lessen.]

Lim clarified however that MMDA will first have to get the opinion of Metro Manila mayors before they push through with planning the new number coding scheme.

Committee Chairman Cesar Sarmiento, however, disagreed with Lim's proposal.

"Self-defeating naman ang purpose niyan e. If we impose that, you cannot prevent those who are capable of buying, would buy again new vehicles. Dagdag na naman 'yun," Sarmiento said. 

[Translation: The purpose of the coding scheme is self-defeating. If we impose that, you cannot prevent those who are capable of buying new vehicles. That will add to the vehicle volume.]

MMDA currently has a unified vehicular volume reduction program in place. Vehicles with certain numbered plates from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. are banned to ply 23 major circumferential and radial roads in the metro.

WATCH: MMDA: No window hours policy on number coding to stay

Last March, MMDA's Acting Chairman Tim Orbos looked into a modified 'odd-even' scheme on EDSA, to limit the current 300,000 vehicles plying EDSA daily. The proposal drew flak from motorists for its two-hour interval implementation.

More traffic incidents in the metro

Meanwhile, the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) reported in the congressional inquiry that from January to May 2017, more than 13,000 traffic incidents have been reported. Almost 1000 of these were fatal.

The HPG said most of the incidents could be attributed to human error.

They also said the incidents mostly happened during daytime, when most traffic enforcers are deployed.

The MMDA Chairman explained that they are short on manpower, as some of these enforcers have yet to receive their monthly salary amounting to only P6,000 since February this year.

"Kaya nawawalan tayo ng mga traffic enforcer sa EDSA for example, dahil what do you expect? Hindi naman magta-trabaho yan kung walang inuuwi sa pamilya," he said.

[Translation: We're losing enforcers in EDSA because what do you expect? They won't work if they can't bring home a salary.]

The MMDA called on the Budget Department to release the funds needed for the salary of the auxiliary traffic enforcers.