“Last week, somebody—supposedly by accident—turned a portion of EDSA into a miniature off-roading course. We even joked that Jimny owners might have been disappointed to see the muck was cleared up before they could have a bit of fun in it. Well, it’s happened again, and this time it’s no longer a joking matter.
“In a Facebook post this morning, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic chief Bong Nebrija advised motorists to avoid the Northbound side of the Ayala Tunnel along EDSA. The reason? Somebody dumped mud over it.
“‘Heads up guys! Please avoid Ayala Tunnel NB. There is mud on the road dumped by an unknown truck. Two motorcycle accidents have already been recorded,’ he said, telling drivers they could take the service road as an alternative and adding that rain would make the area even more slippery.
“As of around 8:30am, Nebrija posted images of the tunnel’s northbound side still blocked off to motorists. We’ve reached out to the MMDA regarding its clearing operations and are still awaiting a reply.
“In a separate post, Nebrija also seemed to imply that this dumping incident was an intentional one. He also berated whoever was responsible for the mess, saying he was inconveniencing not just private motorists, but emergency vehicles as well.
“Uplifting news to end the week, folks: Days after Hidilyn Diaz came home with the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal, she has now received the brand-new Kia Stonic that Ayala Corporation and Kia Philippines promised her.
“The company just shared with us photos of Diaz as she received her top-of-the-line Stonic 1.4 EX AT. This range-topping variant has a P925,000 price tag and comes powered by a 1.4-liter gasoline mill that generates 99hp and 132Nm of torque.
“‘Thank you sa pag-recognize sa pagkapanalo ko. Thank you so much na na-appreciate ninyo yung nagawa ko para sa bansa,’ said Diaz.
“Following her victory, Diaz was also recognized as an ‘Atletang Magiting’ through Ayala Foundation’s Maging Magiting campaign.
“‘Maraming salamat sa lahat ng iyong hirap, pagtyatyaga, sakripisyo, at mataimtim na pananampalataya, tunay kang isang Atletang Magiting,’ said Ayala Foundation president Ruel Maranan. ‘KI-nayang A-butin ang ating gintong pangarap. Tanggapin mo ang munting alay namin, sasakyan ng kampeon.’”
“Metro Manila isn’t the only area to be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting today. Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City, and the entire province of Laguna will also be under ECQ until August 15, 2021.
“In addition, different quarantine restrictions will also be implemented in other parts of Region IV-A (CALABARZON). According to a report by CNN Philippines, Lucena City in Quezon and the provinces of Cavite and Rizal will all be placed under modified ECQ. The restrictions will also be imposed on the rest of the Iloilo province.
“Meanwhile, general community quarantine with heightened restrictions will be observed in Batangas as well as the rest of Quezon province. All these classifications will be in effect until August 15, 2021, barring any extensions.”
“Well, here we go again. Metro Manila and a handful of other areas are shifting back to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). This development comes following the official arrival of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the Philippines, so mask up and avoid leaving your home, guys.
“Of course, not everyone has the luxury of accomplishing all of their tasks and errands from the comfort of a home office. If you’re someone who needs to drive out during ECQ, below are 10 things you should keep in mind:
1) Metro Manila ECQ will be from August 6 to 20
“Two weeks of ECQ for the National Capital Region (NCR). Keep in mind, though, that there’s always the chance this is extended depending on Metro Manila’s COVID-19 situation. Hopefully, we’re able to stick to this timeline.
“Iloilo City, Cagayan De Oro City, and Gingoog City have also been placed under ECQ, albeit only until August 7. Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, and parts of Cebu province, meanwhile, will be under modified enhanced community quarantine until August 15. You can check out the quarantine classifications for other areas here.
2) The number coding scheme remains suspended
“The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has already announced that the number coding scheme will remain suspended for the month of August. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise and, frankly, likely would have been the case whether or not the NCR was placed in ECQ.
“In July, the MMDA said implementing the number coding scheme while Metro Manila’s public transportation system continues operating at a limited capacity would only complicate things for commuters.
“‘If we implement the number coding scheme now, can our public transport accommodate passengers given the minimum health protocols such as social distancing needed to be implemented?’ MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said.
3) Metro Manila’s curfew hours are from 8pm to 4am
“If you absolutely have to be out during ECQ, be sure to be back at home by 8pm. While working authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are exempted from these curfew hours, consumer APORs are not.
“‘Yung tinatawag nating workforce APOR, as long as ang travel nila is work-related, wala pong problema. Kahit anong oras, wala silang curfew at saka pwede sila mag-cross,’ Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar said during a recent interview.
“‘Yung tinatawag nating consumer APOR, bibili ka lang during non-curfew kasi sarado naman ang mga tindahang pagbibilhan mo eh.’”
4) The truck ban will be suspended during ECQ
“The MMDA will not be implementing Metro Manila’s truck ban from August 6 to 20. This comes in a bid to ensure essential goods are able to move freely through the nation’s capital during the ECQ period.”
5) Individuals scheduled for vaccination are APORs
“Yes, you can drive out during ECQ if you’re heading to a COVID-19 vaccination center to get jabbed. According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), all you need to do is show your vaccination card or a text message that proves you’re scheduled for a jab to authorities.”
6) Who else are considered APORs?
“Besides healthcare personnel, APORs include government employees, PUV operators, individuals traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, bank employees, delivery personnel, telecommunications employees, utility workers, and consumer APORs out to avail of essential goods and services. Keep in mind that consumer APORs will not enjoy the same freedom of inter-city movement as workforce APORs.
“You can check out a full list of APORs courtesy of the IATF here.”
7) ‘Hatid-sundo’ of APORs allowed during ECQ, but...
“Workforce APORs can ask a non-APOR to drop them off and pick them up from their workplace during ECQ, provided two requirements are fulfilled.
“The first is a certificate of employment from the APOR’s company that includes the name of the designated non-APOR driver, make and plate number of the car being used, and the employer’s contact number. Requirement number two is a copy of the employer’s business permit, to prove it is permitted to operate during ECQ.”
8) LGUs will determine the fate of quarantine passes
“Authorities are giving local government units (LGU) more freedom when it comes to the use of quarantine passes this time around.
“Under the August 6 to 20 ECQ period, LGUs can decide for themselves whether to recognize old quarantine passes, issue new ones, or not require them at all. Pasig City, for example, has chosen to forego requiring quarantine passes during this latest ECQ period. Check with your LGU or barangay to see whether or not one is required when leaving your home.”
9) Vaccinated commuters can ride rail lines for free
“Good news for vaccinated APORs: The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has announced that commuters who’ve been jabbed can ride the MRT-3, LRT-2, and PNR for free until August 20. All you need to do is present your vaccination card at the station, and you’re good to board. This applies to those who have only received the first dose of the vaccine, too.”
10) What about public transportation?
“The DOTr says public transportation within the NCR will continue to operate at its current capacity during ECQ. That said, strict social distancing will be enforced onboard rail lines. Buses and jeepneys, meanwhile, will only be allowed to carry up to 50% of their maximum capacity and must maintain a one-seat distance between occupants with no standing passengers allowed.
“UV Express vans can accommodate up to two passengers per row and will also be limited to 50% capacity. Ride-hailing vehicles, taxis, and private cars are limited to two occupants per row, while motorcycle taxis may operate subject to National Task Force guidelines. Look:”
“Enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila is set to take effect on Friday, August 6, 2021. However, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), authorities have already begun limiting travel in and out of the Greater Manila bubble since yesterday.
“The DILG said that only authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) will be allowed to enter and leave the ‘NCR Plus’ area. DILG secretary Eduardo Año said that quarantine control points (QCP) will be placed at the borders of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.
“‘At the moment, the QCPs are at the borders of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite with adjoining provinces but once we move to ECQ starting August 6, checkpoints will now be located inside Metro Manila,’ said Año.
“The DILG also mentioned that apart from the ones at the borders, the Philippine National Police may still put up regular checkpoints within the bubble. The agency also reiterated that the movement of cargo trucks and delivery vehicles across QCPs will remain unimpeded.”
“More and more clarifications are being made as we head closer to this new enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period in Metro Manila.
“According to a report by GMA News, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar said that inter-city travel during ECQ will be prohibited, even for consumers buying essential goods.
“Eleazar said each city will be considered a “tiny bubble”—supposedly part of the bigger Metro Manila bubble—and borders separating these will be closed off and will be manned by police personnel.
“Only APORs will be allowed to cross borders, similar to how movement in and out of the Greater Manila bubble will be limited.
“‘Pagdating po ng ECQ, itong malaking bubble na ito ay magiging parang mga tiny bubble na po ’yan. Yung bawat city sa loob ng Metro Manila magsisilbing isa nang bubble area,’ said Eleazar.”
“If you need to travel across expressways during this enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period, then be advised that all expressways operated by the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) will remain fully open 24/7.
“These are namely: the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), and Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX). Take note, however, that there will be checkpoints manned by the Philippine National Police (PNP) at certain locations along these thoroughfares.
“You can check out the official announcements including the list of checkpoints below.”
“If you passed through the Caloocan City area of EDSA earlier today, then chances are, you saw the new traffic lights installed at the A. De Jesus intersection.
“The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has just unveiled this new traffic light system at this section of the thoroughfare in an attempt to facilitate smooth traffic flow, as well as prevent vehicular accidents in the area.
“‘This newly installed traffic signalization would guide the safe and orderly movement of traffic and pedestrians even if there are no traffic enforcers manning the area, especially at night,’ said MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos. ‘We can then maximize the deployment of traffic enforcers to other traffic choke points in the metro.’
“According to the MMDA, this intersection is the first left-turn/U-turn slot with traffic signal facilities installed. The said facilities are expected to improve traffic in Caloocan City in general, as more than 17,000 of the total 22,000 vehicles that traverse A. De Jesus Street daily come from EDSA.
“This is part of the MMDA’s Intelligent Transport System (ITS) project, which includes the installation of traffic signalization on new warranted intersections and its integration into the existing traffic signal control system. It ultimately aims to improve overall traffic management in the metro.”
“Last week, the Makati Parking Authority (MAPA) caused quite a stir after news got out that its enforcers were apprehending electric kick scooter users in the Central Business District. It appears, though, that this issue has finally been laid to rest.
“In a statement released via the Make It Makati Facebook page, the Makati Central Estate Association (MACEA) announced that electric kick scooters and other forms of alternative mobility can now operate along Makati City’s bike lanes. This news comes following coordination between MACEA, MAPA, and local alternative mobility groups.
“‘Recognizing the need for alternative modes of transportation during the pandemic and ensuring the safety of road users, the MACEA in coordination with MAPA would like to inform users of personal mobility scooters, electric kick scooters, and electric mopeds that they may now operate these within the designated bike lanes in the Makati Central Business District,’ the announcement reads.
“‘We would like to remind the users of these mobility devices to stay within these designated lanes for their own safety and that of other motor vehicles and pedestrians.’”
“Have you tried out the newly-opened BGC-Ortigas Bridge yet? If you haven’t, you might want to give it a shot next time you’re heading to either BGC or Pasig City, as the structure can drastically reduce your travel time depending on where you’re coming from.
“The bridge is convenient, but the project as a whole isn’t complete yet. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is still working on finishing the viaduct that will connect BGC’s 8th Avenue to the structure—a project it hopes to complete by the end of the third quarter of 2021.
“In a statement, the agency shared that it is targetting a third-quarter opening for the BGC-Kalayaan viaduct which will put the BGC-Ortigas Center Link Road Project’s completion at 100%. Including the four-lane BGC-Ortigas Bridge, the entire project costs P5.72 billion.
“Bored piles have already been constructed along 8th Avenue, and contractors are already busy fabricating the retaining wall for the structure’s approach ramp.”
“Alright, alright. We know it’s kind of contradictory to feature a donut joint’s drive-thru as ideal for cyclists, considering some bike users are probably using two wheels as a means of living healthy—but calories aside, just look at this place.
“Dunkin Donuts recently shared images of its upgraded Timog branch on social media, showing off some bike-friendly outdoor seating, as well as a drive-thru lane for cyclists. Look:
“‘Our upgraded Timog store is now ready to welcome you,’ the brand’s Facebook post reads.
“‘Not only is it biker-friendly, it also got curbside pick-up for a safer Dunkin’ experience! Please take care and remember to practice the proper safety protocols!’
“It’s a very modern-looking establishment that looks ideal for bikers either looking to grab a snack for the kids during the ride home or cyclists simply looking to take a breather. It even features a bike repair station, so you know where to head to if you run into a flat tire in the Timog area.”
“A day after Makati City officials lifted the short-lived ban on electric kick scooters in the central business district, Foodpanda launched its initial batch of 25 riders who will use this form of alternative mobility not only in the same area, but also in Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
“In a statement, Foodpanda said it is considering the deployment of delivery riders on e-kick scooters as part of its pilot project aimed at providing livelihood to the growing community of electric vehicle users.
“However, deliveries on e-kick scooters shall be limited to within a distance of 2km. ‘With the growing community of e-scooter riders who see it as a convenient way of getting around, we are opening this opportunity for them to have a source of income that will cover short-distance deliveries,’ says Foodpanda managing director Daniel Marogy.
“‘We are piloting this in our two areas in the metro, and hopefully, we will be able to cover more areas soon.’
“Earlier, Foodpanda welcomed to its delivery team several members of the bicycle-riding community who wanted an additional source of income. And just like the cyclists, the e-kick scooter users who passed the screening process will be provided one thermal bag, two sets of uniforms, a helmet, LED lights, and a GCash card.
“Marogy assured only e-kick scooters that pass the city government safety standards will be used by their team members. If you’re interested to become a ‘Ka-Panda’ rider, check out this list of requirements.”