Villages may be opened to traffic

By Marichu Villanueva, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 27 2014 02:11 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2014 10:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - In the search for ways to ease the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila, private villages may be asked to allow the use of some of their roads as alternate routes.

At the same time, the "no sticker, no entry" policy being imposed in these private subdivisions is now under review, as well as the fees and charges collected by homeowners’ associations.

The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), a state agency overseeing private subdivisions and public settlements, has started reviewing legal and pertinent laws to pave the way for these traffic schemes to help alleviate the prevailing traffic problem, especially around Metro Manila.

With the implementation of 15 major infrastructure projects all over Metro Manila in the last stretch of the administration of President Aquino, the HLURB was earlier tasked to review the possible use of road networks inside private villages that connect to national and local roads.

HLURB is a planning, regulatory and quasi-judicial body for land use development and real estate and housing regulation.

Antonio Bernardo, chief executive officer and commissioner of the HLURB, reported this yesterday to Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of the HLURB. The HLURB is one of the attached agencies under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), also chaired by the vice president.

The Vice President told The STAR yesterday the legal department of the HLURB has been reviewing the powers of the state to regulate the imposition of “sticker” fees and other charges that homeowners’ associations have been collecting from non-residents to allow passage in roads of these private villages and subdivisions.

The HLURB, he noted, has been receiving a lot of complaints, especially about the exorbitant fees and charges being collected for stickers in many exclusive villages, from P1,000 to as high as P3,500.

When he was mayor of Makati for more than 16 years, Binay recalled court precedents that upheld the city government’s right to open the gates in private villages that had eased traffic flow in the Makati central business district.

The city government of Las Piñas implements its own “Friendship” stickers that allow vehicles of non-residents to pass through the roads inside private villages. The stickers are given free to vehicle owners who are residents of Las Piñas.

In exchange, city hall provides for the lighting and maintenance of these roads at no cost to the homeowners.