‘Car-centric?’: MMDA’s post about shaded car parking draws flak

April 29, 2024 - 1:30 PM
Garage parking
Underground car parking (Image by upklyak on Freepik)

The Metro Manila Development Authority received criticisms anew after it posted a reminder telling drivers to park their cars in an area with shade as the country experiences extremely hot weather due to the dry season.

The traffic authority on Saturday advised car owners to seek shade or cool areas where they can park their vehicles to shield it from the penetrating rays of the sun.

“Kung hindi maiiwasan, gumamit ng sun shade at ilagay sa loob ng windshield ng sasakyan para maprotektahan ang dashboard at iba pang gamit sa loob sa sinag ng araw,” it said on a Facebook post under its “Beat the Init Kapag may Road Trip” infographic series.

The Facebook post is part of the agency’s infographic series which reminds drivers about car precautionary measures and tips when going on road trips this “summer.”

It also serves as general guidelines for car owners on what to do as the country deals with the scorching heat this warm and dry season.

Other reminders under the infographic series can be found on its Facebook page. These include tire pressure checking, using a modern car tint, maintaining the car’s air-conditioning system, using the proper coolant, and checking the car’s cooling system.

While well-intentioned, its latest post draw flak from Filipinos who accused the agency of being “car-centric” and supposedly focusing too much on car owners’ welfare instead of pedestrians and commuters.

“MMDA needs an Environmental Planner. Or a Human Ecologist. Wapakels sa tao e. Sa kotse, ay yes na yes. ‘Di hamak na mas maraming commuters kaysa sa private car owners, mga bes. It’s saddening to see that the lead agency to ‘develop Metro Manila’ is keen on preserving the status quo of car-centric development,” a Facebook user wrote.

Another online user brought up some previous initiatives of the agency and compared them with the MMDA’s car care infographic series.

“Buti pa ang #MMDA, may malasakit sa mga KOTSE! Pero sa mga pedestrian (bigyan ng apakataas na footbridge!), sa nagbibisikleta (tanggalan ng bike lane ‘yan!), at naka-EKS/e-bike (i-ban na ‘yang mga ‘yan!),” a Filipino commented.

The Facebook user could be referring to the elevated footbridge located in EDSA Kamuning, the proposal to remove the bike lane along EDSA, and the ban against electronic bikes and trikes on national roads.

Others claimed that drivers cannot seek shades in the city because of some MMDA personnel.

“Di na maka-park. Mga ssakyan [niyo] at mga motor ng MMDA ang nasa lilim. Kahit tirik ang araw, naghahanap ng mali. Imbis na mag-mando,” a Facebook user commented.

“Hangga’t maari, mag-park sa lilim o kahit saan malamig. Wala na po kami kasi ma-clamp,” another online user wrote, referring to the MMDA’s road clearing operations which include towing illegally parked cars.

Some Pinoys urged the agency to plant more trees and plants in the metro instead.

“Please [plant] more trees so motorists can park at the shade,” a Facebook user commented.

“Train [niyo] po mga tauhan ninyo na trim lang mga halaman sa ilalim ng mga LRT at MRT tracks at ‘wag kalbuhin. Pati [‘yung] mga puno sa sidewalk sa EDSA, trim lang. Alam ninyo mag El Niño, nagputol pa kayo bago mag-xmas. Ngayon, kita na natin ang kahalagaan ng mga puno. Mas binibigyan [niyo] halaga mga ads na nakakabit sa poste ng MRT,” another Facebook user said.

The MMDA’s reminder about shaded parking areas comes days after several vehicles caught fire in at the parking lot extension of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

Manila International Airport Authority Acting General Manager Eric Jose Ines last week said that grassfire could likely be the cause of fire as the open parking lot is surrounded by dried grass, causing blaze to rapidly spread in the area.

MIAA head executive assistant Chris Bendijo also reminded car owners to never leave flammable materials in their vehicles, especially as parts of the country experience high heat indices.

Experts reveal that garage parking or parking one’s car in shaded areas is safer as extreme weather can cause car battery problems since the heat can cause the battery fluid to evaporate.

The direct sunlight can also cause a delay in getting cold air to blow through the car’s airconditioning system.

UV rays may likewise contribute to the car’s tire dry rotting which is characterized by sidewall cracks and premature tire aging. When exposed to the sun for extended amounts of time, the rubber compounds in tires break down and deteriorate.

The direct sunlight can also wear down the car’s dashboard, steering wheel and the leather upholstery within.