Former Tagaytay mayor is new MMDA chief

By Alex Santos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2010 02:54 PM | Updated as of Jul 28 2010 08:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A former city mayor and environmental lawyer is the new chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Atty. Francis Tolentino was installed on Tuesday morning as the new chief of the MMDA, replacing Oscar Inocentes.  

As an environmental lawyer and former mayor of Tagaytay City for 9 years, Tolentino believes that he can contribute to some of the pressing issues that the agency is facing.

Tolentino experienced being caught in traffic while on the way to the MMDA office for the turnover ceremony. He was late for around 15 minutes which was scheduled at 10 a.m.

He said he will review some existing methods to decongest EDSA's traffic problems.

Cancel number coding exemptions

In line with this, Tolentino has ordered the confiscation of coding exemptions that have been issued effective Monday.

Based on MMDA’s record, around 4,000 private vehicles are exempted due to accommodation given to government offices and officials.

Under the law only a few, such as medical and media practitioners, are exempted from number coding.
The new MMDA chairman is open to having a dialogue with Metro Manila mayors to thresh out some issues concerning number coding, especially in Makati City.

No iron fist vs erring vendors

Tolentino is also reviewing some rules regarding sidewalk vendors. He stressed that he will be compassionate and would not impose an iron fist on erring vendors.

Meanwhile, Tolentiono is also targeting to make Metro Manila like London, where parks will be fully developed for the public.

With the onset of the rainy season, he assured the public that the MMDA will be available 24/7 to provide assistance to all residents.

He is also bent on making part of the MMDA building as his residence just to prove that he is a man of action.

Also, the public can soon contribute to the MMDA in giving solutions by way of texting or through Twitter.

Tolentino also said that it is not his concern to change the color preference of the agency, which his past predecessors did.

Under the term of Bayani Fernando as MMDA head, many structures such as fences and pedestrian overpasses were painted pink. Inocentes replaced this with the color green.
When asked about Tolentino’s favorite color, he answered—rainbow.