Modified coding scheme still in force in Makati
MANILA— The number coding scheme in Metro Manila will remain suspended under Alert Level 3, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Saturday, even as it admitted that more cars are going out under the looser quarantine restriction.
MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said the policy remains in effect to prevent the spike of COVID-19 cases, as the capital region's network of public transportation is not yet back to normal.
Some people may also resort to carpooling, which could risk the spread of COVID-19.
"Hangga't maaari po sana sinususpende po natin ang [number] coding sapagka't isipin mo, kung isa lang kotse mo, saan ka sasakay? sasakay ka sa jeep, sa bus, sa MRT at baka magkasiksikan lalo," Abalos said in a public briefing.
(As much as possible, we want to suspend the number coding scheme to prevent people from crowding in public transportation. Where will you ride if you don't have a car?)
"'Yan kasing sasakyan mo, personal bubble mo 'yan, andyan ka palagi, you feel safe etc. Kung pagbabawalan natin, 'yung ibang may sasakyan nakiki-angkas, so ito ay pagtulong na rin para dito sa impeksyon," he added.
(Your car is your personal bubble. You are always there and you feel safe. If we prohibit it, some people could carpool. This policy helps in preventing COVID-19 infections.)
The official also emphasized that they are continuously monitoring traffic in the region, and noted that even with more cars traveling, the roads could "still handle it."
They are also monitoring crowded places.
"Mga peak hours medyo sabihin na nating nagbabago na, dumadami na ang sasakyan dito. Pero sa ngayon sa aming pag-aaral kaya pa po naman," Abalos said.
(The peak hours already changed and there are many cars going out here in Metro Manila. But the roads could still handle it based on our study)
"Just stay tuned, we will constantly monitor the traffic in Metro Manila," he said.
Abalos in July said the number of private vehicles plying Metro Manila's major thoroughfares this year is at 399,000, about 6,000 automobiles below the 405,000 vehicles recorded pre-pandemic.
The number coding scheme has been suspended since last year, after parts of the Philippines was placed on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Makati City, meanwhile, is still enforcing a modified number coding scheme, where a vehicle may still go out on its coding day if it has at least two people on board.
Metro Manila, home to over 13 million people, will be under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31, where looser restrictions will be enforced amid decreasing COVID-19 cases and as conditions in hospitals improve.
The government imposed a 5-tier new virus response strategy in the region to curb the spread of the virus while allowing greater economic activity.