PITX Terminal (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and other agencies will set up a multi-agency command center at the Metrobase starting April 3 to ensure a peaceful observance of Lent this year.

The command center will monitor actual status of major transport hubs, particularly bus terminals in the metropolis, from Holy Monday until April 6, Maundy Thursday, when influx of passengers who will travel outside Metro Manila is expected.

MMDA acting chair Don Artes said the command center would give way to a faster and more coordinated traffic management response as the inter-agency task force monitors the status of key transport hubs and major roads through closed-circuit television cameras.

“Through this inter-agency action center, we can monitor real-time updates on bus terminals across Metro Manila to ensure safer travel of the commuting public and orderly traffic flow in our roads as we observe the Holy Week,” he said.

An inter-agency terminal inspection is also set to be conducted days before the Holy Week.

Ambulances and tow trucks will be prepositioned along key areas in the metropolis. The MMDA and the local government units are also preparing for any eventualities in case there will be stranded passengers.

Artes also announced the suspension of the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or the number coding scheme in the National Capital Region starting April 6 (Maundy Thursday) until April 10 (Monday), which are declared holidays.

The MMDA will activate its Oplan Metro Alalay Semana Santa 2023 from Holy Wednesday until April 10 and will deploy a total of 2,104 personnel on major thoroughfares, major transport hubs, and key areas in the metropolis.

“MMDA traffic personnel will be assigned to roads leading to bus terminals, seaports, airports, and major churches across the metropolis, to guide the commuters taking advantage of the Lenten season and to ensure unimpeded traffic flow,” Artes said.

Focus of the operations will also be on entry and exit points to and from Metro Manila such as the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, Coastal Road, McArthur Highway, Marcos Highway, Mindanao Avenue, and A. Bonifacio.

Likewise, the agency will also assign traffic enforcers to frequently-visited churches like the Redemptorist Church (Parañaque), Sto. Domingo (Quezon City), San Agustin (Intramuros), and Quiapo (Manila), among others.

Help desks will also be put up in select areas in Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila, and Pasay City where bus terminals and other key transportation hubs are located.

The command center will consist of representatives from the MMDA, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, Land Transportation Office, Philippine National Police, and local government units. (PNA)