STARTING today, male and female Riders of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group will be acting as supervisors of 100 Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers who have been placed under the operational control of the PNP-HPG as it takes over traffic enforcement from Timog Avenue to the Ortigas Avenue stretch of the 23.8-kilometer long EDSA.
PNP-HPG director, Brigadier General Eliseo DC Cruz however said that their presence does not mean that they will automatically solve the EDSA traffic problem. “We are not the magic pill here but still, I believe we, in partnership with the MMDA can make a significant stride when it comes to arresting the presence of abusive drivers in EDSA,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Bigkis Lahi’ Class of 1990 told the Journal Group.
MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said that they allowed the PNP-HPG to have the operational control of 100 of their personnel in order for them to really share a load of road traffic administration on EDSA especially during the expected holiday traffic rush during the coming Yuletide Season.
The deployment of the HPG Riders and patrollers and the 100 MMDA personnel from Timog Avenue to Ortigas Avenue will be supervised by HPG National Capital Region chief, Colonel Chris Haveria and HPG-NCR Traffic Enforcement Unit chief, Col. Manny Tabuena, said Cruz.
Garcia said the move will also allow Edsa Special Traffic and Transport Zone head Edison “Bong” Nebrija to focus on the other portions of the major thoroughfare. To be taken cared of the group of Nebrija are the areas from Timog Avenue going to SM North EDSA and Ortigas Avenue going to Makati-Magallanes to Roxas Boulevard.
The official said they really need the muscle and the expertise of the PNP-HPG in supervising traffic enforcement on EDSA amid a spate of incidents wherein MMDA enforcers have been assaulted while on duty.
He cited the case of an MMDA constable who was stabbed and seriously wounded while attempting to stop a fleeing snatcher, an MMDA enforcer who was punched by an irate motorist and another who was struck by a vehicle being driven by a man he was trying to accost for a traffic violation.
Being highly-trained members of the PNP, HPG agents are known for exuding an air of authority once they step out of their Big Bikes or mobile cars with their shiny boots, well-ironed uniform and distinctive Stetson hats and holstered pistols.
Except for defiant armed criminals who in the past have engaged HPG operatives in gun battles, no motorists have dared to physically assault HPG officers on EDSA. The most HPG operatives receive on EDSA are curses and shouts from motorists stuck in traffic.
Cruz said that his men and the MMDA personnel will man the portion of EDSA from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. A number of HPG and MMDA personnel have been deputized by the Land Transportation Office to issue traffic citation tickets to erring motorists and authorized to order the towing of illegally parked motor vehicles.
The PNP-HPG’s operational control over the 100 MMDA traffic enforcers was approved during a meeting between Cruz and top MMDA officials led by chairman Danilo Lim, Garcia and Nebrija.
Timog Avenue to Ortigas Avenue will be the main focus of the joint HPG-MMDA teams since these areas are known to be perennial source of headache of motorists traveling along the 23.8-kilometer long major thoroughfare in Metro Manila.
Cruz has already fielded 171 HPG personnel including a 48-strong all-women’s group along EDSA not only to help direct traffic but also to spot suspected stolen motor vehicles and go after car thieves, highway robbers and hijackers.