By Filane Mikee Cervantes and Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

(File photo)

MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday announced the suspension of the number coding traffic scheme on Christmas Day (Monday), December 26 (Tuesday-holiday), and New Year’s Day (Monday).

The MMDA said the suspension of the number coding scheme, formally called the Unified Vehicle Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), is part of the government’s measures to ensure smooth travel for the public during the holiday season.

“Saan man ang destinasyon ngayong Kapaskuhan, laging tandaan: planuhin ang biyahe, sumunod sa batas trapiko, at mag-ingat sa pagmamaneho (Wherever your destination this Christmas, always remember to plan your trip ahead of time, follow traffic laws, and drive carefully),” the MMDA advised the public.

To date, the number coding scheme is in effect from Mondays to Fridays during window hours of 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.—excluding holidays.

The measure is meant to ease traffic congestion on certain roads in the National Capital Region (NCR) by disallowing vehicles with license plates ending with 1 and 2 on Mondays, 3 and 4 on Tuesdays, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursdays, and 9 and 0 on Fridays.

Window period

On Friday, 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero urged the MMDA not to impose a whole-day vehicular coding scheme to allow vehicle owners to drive to work or do their activities during the window period.

“This restriction on the use of motor vehicles due to worsening traffic is a shared sacrifice. Let us not punish those who own just one car because that will translate into an advantage for those with multiple vehicles,” he said in a statement.

He said imposing a whole-day coding scheme would only favor those with extra funds to buy a second or a third vehicle, as well as the car manufacturers, who have been “enjoying phenomenal growth” in sales.

He said the vehicle owners are subjected not only to coding restrictions but to road space limitations as well.

“The innermost lane of Edsa has been designated exclusively as a busway, where the minimum fine for a violator is PHP5,000. The outermost lane is reserved for those using bicycles. There is also a motorcycle lane. That leaves only two to three lanes on Edsa for car owners,” he said.

He said there are similar road use curtailment rules in other areas like Quezon City and Pasig City.

“My point is, let us not add to the sacrifice and suffering of families owning just one vehicle and who cannot afford to buy another car for coding,” Romero said.(PNA)