Road reblocking works on Edsa and on C-5 Road will be suspended starting next month to ease expected road congestion during the holiday season.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has agreed to suspend its reblocking works, mostly those which are “cosmetic” in nature, starting November. Road works will resume in January next year.

“I’m talking about ‘yung reblocking na pinapaganda lang — ‘yung cosmetic natin — by next year na ‘yan (I’m talking about reblocking works which only aim to revamp — cosmetic in nature — and will continue next year),” Garcia said following a meeting with the DPWH and representatives from malls and utility companies.

However, potholes and other necessary repairs to avoid or improve traffic congestion will still be addressed.

“Potholes that cause traffic, we’ll repair them.”

“Of course, ‘yung mga butas-butas diyan na nagko-cause ng traffic lalo, ‘yan ire-repair natin ‘yan (potholes that cause traffic, we’ll repair them),” the MMDA official said.

The MMDA said priority projects such as the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) – North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) connector road, will continue during the holidays period.

“Yung mga priority projects po ng government, hindi natin pipigilan ‘yan. At lalo pa natin tutulungan para mapabilis (Those priority projects of the government, we won’t stop those. We would instead help to further expedite the projects),” he said.

To further ensure clear roads and smoother flow of traffic in Metro Manila, Garcia said utility companies responsible for water, electricity and communications have also agreed to a moratorium on non-essential infrastructure works within Metro Manila starting Nov. 11, to resume on Jan. 11 next year.

“If they suddenly started working on infrastructure without permit from us and this causes traffic, an MMDA truck will be sent to confiscate all their equipment.”

“Kung biglang may ginawa silang infrastructure walang permit sa amin at nag-cause ng traffic, pupunta ang truck ng MMDA diyan at kukumpiskahin namin lahat ng gamit nila. So kailangan namin ng coordination (If they suddenly started working on infrastructure without permit from us and this causes traffic, an MMDA truck will be sent to confiscate all their equipment. So we need coordination),” he said.

Garcia added that necessary repairs to restore disrupted service from these companies can be performed with only a notice sent to their office — no permit from the MMDA is required.

“Kung may mga problema kayo diyan, gawin niyo na agad. Hindi na kailangan ng permit, sabihan niyo na lang kami (If you have problems there, fix it immediately. There’s no need for a permit, just let us know),” he said.

Garcia clarified that the moratorium on utility infrastructure works will only include those deemed not immediately necessary and would not to be completed anytime soon.

“Magsa-summer drought na ulit by March. May infrastructure sila to help ‘yung crisis — siyempre papayagan natin ‘yan (There may be a summer drought by March. If they have infrastructure works to help ease that crisis — of course, we’ll allow that),” he said.

During the meeting, Metro Manila mall owners also agreed to adjust their opening time to 11 a.m. on weekdays starting Nov. 11 and will end on Jan. 10 next year to help ease congestion in major thoroughfares of Metro Manila during the morning rush hours.

Mall schedules during weekends and closing hours remain at the discretion of their management but closing hours during weekdays must not be between 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., the MMDA said.

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