MANILA – Most of the VIPs and delegates attending the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits are expected to fly out by Wednesday (Nov. 15), and authorities have advised the public to plan their trips with consideration of the traffic restrictions that remain in place until then.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said traffic measures in place for the ASEAN Summit will last until Wednesday. It has deployed additional personnel at the northbound lanes of EDSA to reinforce the ASEAN lanes.
“We expect traffic in the metropolis to go back to normal on Thursday (Nov. 16). We are expecting all the heads of state to leave the country by Wednesday,” said Bong Nebrija, MMDA operations supervisor. Some of the VIPs, notably US President Donald Trump and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had departure schedules earlier, or Tuesday.
Motorists are still advised to still keep clear of EDSA and other southern parts of the metropolis until the event is over to avoid being caught in traffic during the movements of delegates from hotels to meeting venues and from hotels to airports, Nebrija said.
“Ongoing small group conferences and symposiums are scattered all over Metro Manila, attended by heads of states, cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries. All of these delegates have to be prioritized on the road,” said Nebrija.
Nebrija said frequent stop-and-go schemes are being imposed on designated ASEAN lanes to give way to the convoy of vehicles going to and from the summit sites.
“We are adjusting our movements, security protocols and traffic management based on these guidelines from our higher headquarters,” Nebrija said.
According to Nebrija, only ambulances and emergency vehicles are allowed to use the exclusive lanes for ASEAN delegates.
“Emergency vehicles may use the ASEAN lanes provided that there are no delegations present”, he added.
Emergency vehicles with passengers requiring urgent medical attention are now given priority and spared from being stuck in traffic.
Two inner lanes have been designated as ASEAN lanes on both sides of EDSA from Balintawak to Magallanes Avenue. The thoroughfare should be cleared of vehicles whenever convoys traverse it.
Nebrija advised motorists to use C5 and pre-tagged Mabuhay Lanes as alternative routes; commuters can also use the Metro Rail Transit 3 in going to their destinations, he said.
To limit the number of vehicles on the road during the summit, the MMDA’s number coding scheme is in effect until November 15 despite the declaration of special non-working holidays in Metro Manila.
Should accidents happen, six ambulances, two fire trucks, and three military trucks are on standby.
MMDA’s Road Emergency Group, headed by Edward Gonzales, set up staging areas in Camp Aguinaldo, Solaire (Diokno Drive), Edsa Timog, Edsa-Orense and Edsa-Roxas Boulevard.
The affected routes for the ASEAN are: Clark Complex in Pampanga; along SXTEX from Clark to NLEX; along NLEX from (SCTEX to Balintawak); along Edsa from Balintawak to Magallanes; along Diokno from Entertainment City to Buendia; along Ayala Avenue from Edsa to Makati Avenue; along Makati Avenue (Ayala to Pasay Road); along Pasay Road from Edsa to Amorsolo; along Lawton from 5th Avenue to 30th Avenue; and along McKinley Road from Edsa to 15th Avenue.
With this, the two MMDA officials appealed for the public’s understanding of the inconveniences caused by the task of hosting the summits.