This past week, reports of patients dying in transit hit the news, prompting a response from the government. Yesterday, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) discussed the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide assistance to emergency responders needing help in Metro Manila's congested thoroughfares.
Following the meeting, the agency said that they are ready to provide assistance to first responders at a moment's notice. MMDA spokesperson, assistant secretary Celine Pialago said emergency vehicles, particularly ambulances, may approach any MMDA street personnel for assistance. “Just tap them, open your window, inform our constable on the ground—whether it’s a traffic constable or our MMDA rider,” Pialago added.
The MMDA also said that escorting first responders is now part of the official duties of the traffic constables. EDSA special traffic and transport zone chief Edison “Bong” Nebrija chimed in as well, adding that it is also the responsibility of motorists to make way for emergency vehicles responding at all times. Furthermore, the motorcycle lane or the blue lane in Edsa is the lane dedicated for emergency vehicles and every vehicle within it and surrounding it must immediately make way.
Not only that, the MMDA will be imposing penalties who do not yield to emergency vehicles. Motorists who do not move out of the way can be fined Php 1,000 (payable to the Land Transportation Office).
He then said that it's not just ambulances that will be escorted by their constables. Fire trucks and police vehicles can also be aided by the MMDA, should they seek assistance.