A lawyer belonging to the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) claims that any traffic gridlock after their church members ended their protest jn EDSA should be blamed to the officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
Ferdinand Topacio, who served as legal counsel for former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, posted on his Twitter account (@FSTopacio) that the INC members had left EDSA and traffic should now be blamed on MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
Topacio’s tweet got 21 “retweets” and 29 “favorites.”
While Tolentino could not be reached for comment regarding Topacio’s Twitter post.
The MMDA chief was not at his office and was supposedly attending a meeting at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City Monday afternoon.
However, according to the MMDA Metrobase, the agency’s traffic monitoring center, traffic flow at EDSA-Shaw Blvd. intersection had normalized at around 10 a.m. Monday. As of 5 p.m., the Metrobase said traffic flow on EDSA both northbound and southbound lanes was light to moderate.
The INC protest paralyzed traffic on EDSA when church members moved their protest from the Department of Justice in Manila to EDSA.
Some of the protestors gathered near the EDSA Shrine while others converged near the SM Megamall area. The gathering forced the closure to traffic of the northbound service road of EDSA.
On Saturday, Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. issued the protesters a permit and managed to convince them to just occupy the corner of EDSA-Shaw Blvd. until Sunday midnight.
With the protesters contained at the EDSA-Crossing area, traffic eased up as vehicles remained unimpeded through the EDSA-Ortigas flyover and through EDSA by way of EDSA-Shaw underpass.
The protesters peacefully left Monday morning after church leaders said that officials of the government and the INC had agreed to resolve the protest peacefully.
Meanwhile, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara called on the administration to immediately address the traffic mess in Metro Manila, which he said has wasted the time and money of workers long enough.
Citing a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), traffic congestion cost the country some P2.4 billion daily in 2012.
Angara grieved that the government agencies tasked to manage traffic in Metro Manila and the rest of the country did not express any plans to address the various issues related to traffic, such as the increase in the volume of vehicles and the breakdown of mass transport systems.
He said that a long-term infrastructure and transport plan should be crafted to address worsening traffic in the country.
Angara said traffic definitely has a negative impact on the productivity of workers and economy. It’s a result of lack of precaution and planning from agencies tasked to manage transport and traffic amidst car sales outpouring in the country right now.