MMDA cheers Comelec ban on motorcades in major Metro Manila roads

Screen shot of MMDA Traffic Navigator. The MMDA chief said Saturday traffic woes worsened in the NCR since the campaign season began, and hailed the Comelec ban on motorcades in major thoroughfares.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Saturday hailed the move of the Commission on Elections to grant its request to prohibit campaign motorcades and caravans on major Metro Manila thoroughfares. 

Chairman Francis Tolentino said, “This will greatly help the MMDA in effectively managing vehicular traffic during the campaign period. The MMDA will continue working with the Comelec to ensure a clean, peaceful, properly, and honest election.”

On Friday the agency called on Comelec to regulate campaign motorcades this election season, and even consider filing election offenses against candidates causing unnecessary traffic jams in any of their street campaign activities.

"This will not be a mere traffic violation but an election offense. We should make them realize the effect on the traffic flow of holding motorcades in major roads, especially when these are not coordinated with the proper agencies,” Tolentino said.

"As an election offense, it should be punishable, in most serious cases, by disqualification, according to MMDA. “We should draft and implement strict guidelines in the holding of such activity, and any form of violation should be taken seriously, regardless of political affiliations. The candidates’ right to campaign is not absolute,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino met with Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. last Wednesday to convey the MMDA’s desire to be deputized to assist the poll body in regulating the use of major Metro Manila streets for campaign motorcades.

MMDA said in a petition filed before the Comelec that several campaign activities, like caravans and rallies done in major thoroughfares are worsening the “already congested flow of traffic along major thoroughfares.”

The MMDA identified these major roads as Edsa, C-5, Quezon Avenue, Marcos Highway, Commonwealth Avenue, Espana Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, President Quirino Avenue, Aurora Boulevard, Ortigas Avenue, Shaw Boulevard, MIA Road, Domestic Road, Roxas Boulevard, Araneta Avenue, AH. Lacson Street, Rizal Avenue and A. Bonifacio Avenue.

The MMDA only wants to regulate the time and duration of a campaign motorcade so the agency can prepare to avert any potential traffic problem, Tolentino clarified.

He said, “It is not our intention to control the candidates’ campaign, particularly on where to set up the stage for proclamation rallies and other campaign-related activities.”

Tolentino raised the option of Comelec designating common rally areas, just like common poster areas.