The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will take over traffic enforcement from Timog Avenue to Ortigas Avenue stretch of Edsa.

This is to share a load of road traffic administration on Edsa, especially during the expected holiday traffic rush, MMDA general manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia said.

He said the deployment of HPG personnel led by Col. Manny Tabuena, chief of the PNP HPG-National Capital Region’s Traffic Enforcement Unit, will begin on Sept. 9 at 5 a.m.

“Starting Monday by 5 a.m., the stretch of Edsa from Timog to Ortigas will be under the supervision of HPG. Pero ito ay hindi lang po HPG, ang MMDA po dito ay taga-tulong (But enforcers here will not only include HPG personnel, but the MMDA will also be there to help),” Garcia said during a press conference at the MMDA office in Makati City.

To complement the HPG, the MMDA will provide 100 enforcers who will be supervised by the HPG.

Garcia said the move will also allow Edsa Special Traffic and Transport Zone head Edison “Bong” Nebrija to focus on the other portions of the major thoroughfare.

“Yung under ng kay Nebrija from Timog (Ave.) going to SM North Edsa and then Ortigas (Ave.) going to Makati — Magallanes, hanggang Roxas Boulevard (What’s under Nebrija will be from Timog Ave. going to SM North Edsa and then Ortigas Ave. going to Makati City – Magallanes to Roxas Boulevard),” Garcia said.

He said the HPG has been tapped to help in the traffic enforcement because of the police unit’s authority and capabilities.

He cited several incidents, where MMDA personnel could have used more help – previously, an MMDA enforcer was stabbed following an attempt to stop a fleeing robber, an enforcer was punched, and another was hit by a vehicle during enforcement of their duties.

The HPG is equipped with firearms for defense during dire situations, motorcycles, and has higher authority as police personnel.

Garcia said the HPG will focus on the said part of Edsa but will not be limited to it as their jurisdiction covers the entire country.

Meanwhile, Tabuena said their personnel will man the portion of Edsa from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 3 p.m. – 1 a.m.

“Kung 9 p.m. matatapos ang shift ng MMDA, kami ay hanggang 1 a.m. (If MMDA enforcers end their shifts at 9 p.m., we end ours at 1 a.m.),” Tabuena said.

Just like MMDA personnel, Tabuena said they have been deputized to issue traffic violation tickets to wrongdoers and are also allowed to tow illegally parked vehicles.

He added that towed vehicles will be brought to the MMDA impounding areas.

Garcia said he hopes to discipline drivers and pedestrians following the HPG’s enforcement activities. (PNA)