Rizal Avenue cleared of vendors, declared as ‘No Parking‘ area

 

The Daily Tribune| Written by: Pat C. Santos| September 16, 2016

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada yesterday declared the 6.5-kilometer stretch of Rizal Avenue, formerly called Avenida Rizal, as a No Parking zone.

Estrada made this move following yesterday morning’s road clearing operation that revealed the extent of rampant illegal parking along the busy and perennially clogged thoroughfare.

“This is a major highway. Why parking is allowed along this narrow road is beyond me,” the Manila mayor said.

“Beginning today, the entire stretch of Rizal Avenue is now a no parking area: parking in any part of this road will no longer be allowed anytime,” Estrada added.

During a road clearing operation along a three-kilometer portion of Rizal Avenue, from Carriedo to Abad Santos Avenue, the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) arrested a supposed parking fee collector for illegally charging fees to vehicle owners that park along Rizal Avenue, particularly near the San Lazaro Hospital.

A total of 30 tricycles, five motorcycles, 15 light vehicles and two kuligligs  (motorized pedicabs) were also towed away by MTPB traffic enforcers during the early morning operation.

The man, said to be an employee of Tokagawa Global Corp., claimed to have a certification from the MTPB allowing the collection of parking fees in the area.

But MTPB chief Dennis Alcoreza said parking is absolutely not allowed in any part of Rizal Avenue.

“Wala kayong karapatang maningil dito. Maski sa sidewalk, hindi dapat kayo nagpa-pa-park,” Alcoreza scolded the collector.

“Two lanes na nga lang, napakaraming sasakyan, dapat ‘wag nilang i-choke ito, isang lane na lang tuloy nagagamit,” he added. “Being a major thoroughfare, dapat no parking zone ‘to.”

Estrada has nullified the deal with the former parking contractor, citing the observation of the Commission on Audit (CoA) that it is disadvantageous to the government. The auditing agency also ordered parking contractor Tokagawa Corp. and its partner Matsuyama Corp. to turn over the parking operations to the city government.

But Tokagawa went to court and the case is still being heard.
Under the 25-year deal, Tokagawa will charge parking fees to motorists in designated areas; only 20 percent of the proceeds, however, go to the city government.

The parking deal is the subject of graft charges filed by journalist Ricardo Santos Cruz before the Office of the Ombudsman against Lim, Tokagawa vice president Rorie Cariaga and Matsuyama managing officer Napoleon Ibalio.

“Sila promotor nito, e,” Alcoreza said of Tokagawa. “Nagkakaroon tuloy ng impression ang publiko na pinapayagan ang parking dito pero hindi na ito pinapayagan ni Mayor Estrada ngayon.”

The MTPB chief added Estrada authorized him to arrest anyone collecting illegal parking fees and those protecting this money-making racket in Manila.
Since June, Estrada has intensified the city government’s road and sidewalk clearing operations, driving away more than 3,000 illegal vendors and removing countless number of obstructions and illegal structures.
The Manila mayor said time has come to clear up the precious road space that has been occupied by illegal vendors to relieve traffic congestion in Manila’s thoroughfares.

Estrada personally led clearing operations in Divisoria, Blumentritt, Quiapo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz,  R-10 and Pedro Gil, among other places, and major roads leading to and from the Port of Manila.
He also cleaned up the “University Belt” weeks before the June 13 opening of classes.