The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) won't be taking a break this Holy Week. Besides making sure that the flow of traffic on the metro's streets is unimpeded despite the customary holiday exodus, the MMDA will also be intensifying its drive against private vehicles that are illegally running public-utility routes.
"There will be no letup," said MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino. "We will intensify our anti-colorum operations during the Holy Week break. Colorum vehicles have no right to compete with duly franchised public-utility vehicles."
According to Tolentino, colorum operators usually take advantage of the Holy Week vacation because of the high number of commuters going to the provinces. In response to this, a sufficient number of traffic enforcers will be stationed along major thoroughfares not only to ensure the smooth flow of traffic but also to look out for colorum public-utility vehicles like jeepneys, AUVs, buses, and even taxicabs.
If a colorum or unregistered public-utility vehicle is apprehended, its owner will be fined P6,000 while the vehicle itself will be impounded by the agency for six months. The license of the driver of a colurum vehicle could be suspended from three to six months.
So, is this just a Holy Week activity for the MMDA? Fortunately, it's more than that. According to MMDA traffic discipline office chief, Yves Gonzalez, if the drive against colorum vehicles isn't being enforced by the agency on a regular basis and this is what he said:
"It's a daily thing, but full force is another matter. On normal days, it's specific units only that take care of anti-colorum (operations)."