By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Saturday urged passengers to plan their trips to avoid unnecessary queuing at transport hubs, as the country observes the extended Undas holiday break.

MMDA Director for Traffic Enforcement Group Victor Nuñez advised travelers to go to provincial bus terminals, ports, and airports at least three to four hours before their scheduled trip, considering the anticipated build-up of crowds ahead of the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2.

Paalala natin sa publiko (We remind the public to) make sure that you will have enough time for leaving kung kayo ay pupunta sa mga pantalan (if you are heading for the ports), bus terminals and airports,” Nuñez said in the weekly forum at Dapo Restaurant in Quezon City.

Kasi ho talaga, sa dami ng mga umuuwi ngayon, we would expect na talagang tutuhod ang traffic, lalung-lalo na doon sa malapit sa (Because really, with the number of people going home at this time, we would expect the traffic to be really heavy, especially near the) airports and bus terminals. So, at least give three to four hours para siguradong makakarating ho kayo sa oras ng biyahe niyo (so that you can be sure to arrive at the time of your trip).”

He noted that heavy traffic has already been observed at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), and Skyway since Friday.

The traffic congestion, he said, has been expected because apart from public utility vehicles, a lot of private motorists would also return to their home provinces.

Marami ho talagang nagdala ng mga private vehicle papunta sa kani-kanilang mga probinsya kaya siguro kahapon, marami nang nag-half day kaya buhos na po ‘yung mga sasakyan sa expressway palabas ng Metro Manila (A lot of people used private vehicles to get to their respective provinces, so maybe many of them went on half-day work yesterday that cars were already pouring on the expressways going out of Metro Manila),” Nuñez said.

The MMDA is already implementing its traffic management measures to alleviate expected heavier traffic during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Nuñez said about 1,448 traffic enforcers and other personnel from the Metro Parkways Clearing Group have been deployed to five major cemeteries in Metro Manila.

He said the MMDA’s Road Emergency Group has also been prepositioned in major thoroughfares.

Mag-iikot po kami ulit to make sure na maayos ang ating mga terminal, maayos ang ating mga biyahero, and of course, ‘yung pagpapatupad ng mabuting daloy ng trapiko ngayong Undas (We will make the rounds again to ensure that our terminals are in order, our travelers are safe, and of course, good traffic flow is implemented this Undas),” Nuñez said.

Oct. 30 (Monday) and Nov. 1 (Wednesday) and 2 (Thursday) are declared holidays for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSKE) elections and the observance of All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, respectively.

Malacañang also issued on Friday Memorandum Circular 38, allowing a work-from-home arrangement for government employees and asynchronous classes for public schools on Oct. 31 (Tuesday). (PNA)