Traffic management of EDSA falls into the hands of some 150 members of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) deployed on EDSA starting today.

Major changes are expected including serious implementation of the existing traffic rules and regulations.

A major change that was agreed upon with members of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and representatives from the Provincial Operators Association of the Philippines was that provincial buses southbound on EDSA between the hours of 6am-9am on weekdays must turn right at P. Tuazon Boulevard in Quezon City and use C-5 in order to get to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). This will prevent said buses from contributing to the vehicular volume that traverses EDSA on the way to Makati.

The LTFRB will strictly implement the use of the yellow lane exclusively for public utility buses (PUBs) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), for their part, will install concrete barriers along EDSA to fully enforce the rule. The only time private vehicles can use the yellow lane is if they’re turning right into a corner.

For motorists concerned about ‘kotong,’ Highway Patrol Group Director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao explains that with the enforcement of the ’30-second rule’ neither the police nor the motorist will have time to negotiation a bribe.

“They will flag down, they will ask for the license, they will issue a ticket. That’s all that will be said. After that, they can go. There will no longer be any lengthy discussions that can [lead to] negotiations. We have prepared for such concerns. First of all, I got the commitment from our police that they will only enforce the laws that they need to and just do the job asked of them,” said Gunnacao.

Location assignments of the HPG will also be changed after a minimum of three days or a maximum of one week to prevent both parties from becoming comfortable in their position and fall into the trap of either bribing an officer or accepting a bribe from a motorist.

The driving public is being warned though that bribery is a crime punishable by imprisonment of six to twelve years. “Please remember that the orders of the PNP chief and the President include the arrest of those who will bribe. That will only add to their offense,” added Gunnacao.

HPG spokesman Chief Inspector Oliver Tanseco also warned the public about escaping by driving away from the police. “HPG troopers will not hesitate to disable a vehicle by shooting its tire in case a motorist escapes from a crime,” Tanseco said in an interview on an AM radio.

In order to maximize the use of EDSA, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has started clearing road obstructions and the sidewalks of illegal vendors. The agency has also asked local government units (LGUs) to enforce the 1.5-meter ‘no-vendor zone’ to prevent them from coming back. This effort also extends to side roads that have been included in the ‘Mabuhay lanes’ or shortcut routes between Makati and Quezon City that have been identified by the MMDA.