MANILA - An illegally parked car with 3 children left inside and the air conditioning turned off alarmed authorities clearing roadblocks outside Commonwealth Market in Quezon City Tuesday morning.
A girl and 2 boys, all siblings, were found playing with cellphones in the backseat of the car while their mother and aunt were at the market. The back windows were slightly rolled down.
The car was among some 30 illegally parked vehicles which were impounded by Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) enforcers conducting clearing operations at the market.
The MMDA forced open the car doors and gave the children water before paging their guardians.
The mother and aunt arrived to find not just the MMDA but local officials who invited them to the barangay hall.
They were reminded to refrain from leaving their children alone especially in hazardous conditions such as intense heat, as this could constitute child abuse.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said this incident could be avoided if cars were parked in designated areas.
CLEARING OPS ON A ROLL
The driver of another towed car meanwhile pleaded with the MMDA, saying he had paid supposed parking attendants P10 to P50 to stay at the roadside.
The MMDA said they would look into this, but towed the car anyway.
Signage, carts, and motorcycles along the sidewalk also suffered the brunt of the clearing operations. Even vehicles owned by the local barangay were not spared.
The MMDA also discovered that several car washes and other establishments in the area do not have permits to operate. The businesses however claimed they also paid fees to the barangay.
The enforcers were more lenient with a couple whose illegally parked jeepney will be used for a funeral.
Bong Nebrija, MMDA's supervising operations officer, agreed to return the jeep for "humanitarian reasons."
Nebrija said he was pleased they found fewer road violations in their fifth operation along Commonwealth.
"People are learning and getting used to the idea that what they're doing, whether vending or parking, is illegal, since they know the MMDA consistently returns to operate," he said in Filipino.