MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG) will double its men on EDSA and will crack down on erring cops and bus drivers, as initial steps to solve the heavy traffic in Metro Manila's busiest highway.
PNP HPG acting director Sr. Supt. Antonio Gardiola Jr. said, from the present 159 policemen, around 300 police officers will be deployed on the entire stretch of EDSA in the next few days on a three-shift basis.
This means more equipment for HPG men. Gardiola showed to ABS-CBN News their newly acquired pieces of equipment such as motorcycle patrols.
The HPG Task Force EDSA will now have 154 motorcycles from the previous 104, and 36 cars from the previous 22.
"Kailangan talaga ng tao, visible persons to enforce traffic. Mag-generate kami ng mga 300 personnel from different regions," Gardiola said. "Motorcycles mas flexible sa EDSA. We're lucky enough sa HPG binigay yung mga ginamit sa APEC."
He said they will also convert some of their training offices in Camp Crame into barracks, as more policemen are expected to arrive in the next few days. He said he has ordered hundreds of double-deck beds and foams for the use of Task Force EDSA personnel.
Gardiola, however, issued a stern warning against erring cops who will engage themselves in petty street corruption, especially those known to have been acting as "protectors" of some bus drivers and companies.
"Yung mga nangongolekta diyan, tama na," he said. "Sa mga tauhan ko, huwag na kayo mangotong, huwag na tayo dumagdag sa problema sa EDSA."
"Sabi naman ni Presidente (Duterte), dodoblehin sweldo natin so no reason na mangotong pa," he added.
Gardiola also warned erring bus drivers and companies who continue to use unregistered buses.
"Pagpapaluin natin mga erring driver. We are enforcing the law without fear or favor," he said.
"Isa pa yan, yung mga colorum buses. We also hope that it will be adressed by LTFRB [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board]. Makikita naman sa LTO [Land Transportation Office], yung mga prangkisa makikita rin natin kung peke."
For operations purposes, Gardiola said they have divided EDSA into 10 sectors. Each will be headed by a team and a team leader who will be solely responsible for the traffic flow in the area.
"Ten sectors to be manned by several personnel dun lang sila nakatututok," he said, referring to some of the identified sectors, namely EDSA-Congressional, Cubao, Ortigas, EDSA-Crossing, Ayala and EDSA-Taft.
The HPG also recommended the removal of bus terminals along EDSA.
"Yan ang isang major cause ng traffic along EDSA. Kapag nagba-backing, humihinto sa EDSA yung mga bus. Kapag sasakay ang pasaherong dumating, nagiging hintuan din ng taxi," he pointed out.
But Gardiola reminded his men that it is not only traffic but criminals that they should rid EDSA of.
"Linisin dapat sa mga kriminal, holdaper, snatcher. Huwag nyo isipin na traffic lang, we have to make people safe," he said.
Gardiola hopes there will only be one manager for traffic that all agencies will get orders from for a smoother implementation of traffic plans.
"Dapat maisa kami, one chain of command lang, dapat may mag-manage para iisa lang patakbo sa EDSA," said Gardiola.
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