By Ellson Quismorio
A house leader criticized the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for his "wrong packaging and marketing" of his much-maligned HOV (High-Occupied Vehicle) policy along EDSA.
Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Winston Castelo said on Monday that instead of telling motorists that they should avoid EDSA at all costs if they had no passenger, the MMDA should have paid a premium for carpooling.
"I think the intention was correct, but the marketing was wrong, the MMDA was trying to sell [in a way] that the commuter must not pass the EDSA. Mali ho yun (That's not right), "Castelo, president of the Metro Manila Development Committee, told journalists during the Ugnayan sa Batasan news forum.
"The packaging and marketing should be: we would have to seduce a lot of commuters, our friends [ride] a common carrier and [now you can pass through EDSA]. "
In a nutshell, the HOV policy is aimed at removing EDSA's only driver vehicles during the morning and evening rush hours. Violators are beaten with a P1,000 fine for each violation.
The policy was recently suspended by the MMDA after Senators opposed it.
"It is not quite gone yet, I think it is not quite in its infancy", said Castelo. "I was told that the MMDA would consult with the MMC (Metro Manila Council)."
The MMC is composed of 16 mayors and a municipal mayor and is the policy body of the MMDA.
"I talked to them if they could calibrate the marketing strategy, so instead of using EDSA … not carpooling, so we would tempt the general public not to take their cars, but their friends to be tempted to join in. That way they could use EDSA, "Castelo said.
The dying PDP-Laban argued that the HOV policy did not realize its goal, the easing of traffic.
"Although the volume of vehicles in EDSA declined, it went [to] other places such as C-5 and other peripheral roads. So the goal was not really achieved, "he said.
Castelo said the MMDA-MMC meeting will take place later this Thursday.