EDSA boss, Edison “Bong” Nebrija shared with MotoPinas.com that the EDSA bus lane is strictly for buses. He and his team will not hesitate to apprehend any violators. He warned that his team will not back down if the violator is military, police or a government employee. All will be ticketed accordingly if they violate traffic laws.
“Hindi namin dini-discriminate kung military, police or red plate [government vehicle]. (We don't discriminate whether it's military, police, or red plate [vehicle].” said Nebrija, during a phone interview with MotoPinas.com earlier.
We conducted the interview after Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson, Celine Pialago, issued a statement noting that half of the new EDSA bus lane violators were government personnel.
Not a priority lane
The concrete barriers are designed to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering. The driver of this ambulance was forced to back up to exit to his destination hospital.
The EDSA boss explains that the violators may have only thought that the new bus lane can still be used as a priority lane for government vehicles. This was allowed on the old bus lane to the right. But things have already changed, he says.
“Nung na-establish yung [new] bus lane, nakita nilang maluwag, they thought na ‘front liners tayo’, priortity tayo diyan (When the new bus lane was established, they saw that it was wide open and they may have thought that, ‘hey, we’re frontliners anyway and we’re priority).”
It's not only government personnel that think they are entitled to use the new bus lane as a priority lane. Nebrija sharede that, in many instances, there were also many people working in the medical field that were apprehended for driving on the new bus lane.
“To be fair, meron din naman mga doktor, mga nurses… mga papunta ng ospital or galing ng ospital. (To be fair, there were also doctors and nurses...those who are going to or coming from their respective hospitals),” Nebrija added.
Nebrija said he and his team have spent the whole month of June as an information campaign, giving out warnings to erring motorists who may have mistaken the new bus lane as also a priority lane for frontliners.
“Siguro for the whole month [of June], we’ve spent yung information dissemination...kasi akala nung iba, dahil nung ECQ, may mga checkpoints tayo, may mga tinalagang mga priority lanes for frontliners. Even yung sa delivery [of goods]. Hindi sila naaabala dun sa pag che-check point. Nung binuksan natin yung [new] bus lane, they still thought it was a priority lane (We’ve spent the whole month of June for information dissemination...because during ECQ, we have checkpoints and there were established priority lanes for fronliners. Even for delivery of goods. They were not delayed on checkpoints. Now when the new bus lane was opened, they still think it's a priority lane for them).”
Entitled uniformed personnel
Even in the past, some law enforcement as well as military personnel think that since they are men in uniform, they can get away with petty traffic violations. But, that’s no longer the case, said Nebrija.
“Yung mga military natin, dahil naka uniporme sila, yung mga pulis na naka-uniporme, parang may unwritten rule na they can get away with a [taffic] violation, as long as naka-uniporme sila, so they take chances...’Pasensya na ha, nagiging maling halimbawa kasi tayo’. So what happens is nati-ticketan sila. (The military, and the police, when in uniform, feel like they're above the law and can get away with petty traffic violations. So they take their chances. We just tell them that, ‘We’re sorry, but you’re setting a bad example.’ So what happens is we issue them citation tickets).”
Even government vehicles that bear red plates (government owned and registered), are not above the law, he says and are still subject to apprehension if they violate the new EDSA bus lane.
“Pati yung red plate [government vehicle] tini-ticketan naman namin talaga yan, lalong lalo na kung unmarked. Marami kasing mga red plate vehicles unmarked talaga eh...hindi naman namin pinapayagan yan. Parang [gusto nila sabihin] yung oras nila mas importante sa ibang tao kaya tini-ticketan namin para matuto lang. (Even government vehicles bearing red plates are apprehended and are issued corresponding tickets. In fact, a lot of them are unmarked government vehicles...we do not tolerate that. They seem to think their time is more important than everyone else. We give them tickets to teach them a lesson.)”
Unfortunately, the EDSA boss and his team also see a lot of motorcycle riders violating the new bus lane. Being small and agile, they can easily weave in and out of the lane bordered by concrete barriers. “When they see the [MMDA] enforcer 50-meters away, they just weave out of the barriers,” added the EDSA boss in Filipino.
Keeping the bus lane clear continues to be a challenge for the MMDA. However, the headstrong team is keeping at it in hopes that the driving public gets the message. If caught driving in the bus lane, violators will be issued a citation ticket by the MMDA. They will have to settle a PhP150.00 fine at the MMDA office or through its authorized payment offices.