MMDA to rehearse road closures for Papal arrival tonight

MMDA to rehearse road closures for Papal arrival tonight image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted January 12, 2015 06:51

Dry run recreates route from Villamor to Papal residence

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will practice each step they will take during Pope Francis’ arrival and commute from Villamor Airbase to the Papal residence in Manila, reenacting everything including timing and speed of the convoy.

Following the recommendation of top security officials handling the Papal visit, the MMDA will start the dry run at 6pm tonight and in the process affect air and vehicular traffic.

"We will have a general dress rehearsal along the vicinity of the Villamor-Andrews Avenue area so it's going to be an actual simulation of the Pope's arrival from the airport, going to Andrews Avenue, going to Roxas Boulevard, going to Quirino and going to the Papal Residence.  This is the only time when our security experts can evaluate the preparations being undertaken so far. This will be a general dress rehearsal so we appeal to the passengers going to NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), to the domestic airport, to be very, very early if they have flights before 6 p.m," said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

Tolentino is asking motorists in the Manila and Paranaque area and also Filipinos with flights coming or going for patience and understanding as their trip will be highly affected by the 6PM simulation.

"Since this is rush hour, we really need the cooperation of the motorists especially those traversing Quirino Avenue, Osmeña and even those crossing Sales going to their residences in the Parañaque area especially Merville, BF Homes and those going to the airport, including Roxas Boulevard," added Tolentino.

The limit the variables, the MMDA will use the same number of enforcers and personnel for the dry run and the actual arrival.

In other news, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian is calling out MMDA Chairman Tolentino for wasting Php 120,000 of taxpayers money by buying adult diapers when the money should have just been used to rent more portalets (portable toilets).

"The adult diaper project is a waste of money. It should have been used instead to rent a sufficient number of portalets for everyone's use.  If the problem is the lack of portable toilets, [MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino] should have focused on the rental of more portalets where MMDA traffic enforcers can relieve themselves with their dignity and human right intact," said Gatchalian.

The adult diaper project has also been a subject of ridicule in various major news outfits across the globe and on social media.

MMDA’s Emerson Carlos defended the move saying it was a trial run and even cited events and organizations including NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration) astronauts that have used it in the past.

"These diapers are actually being used regularly as standard operating gear for soldiers belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United States Army to fight Talibans in Afghanistan since 2012. Even the Buckingham Palace guards," Carlos said.