One of the country's biggest concerns of hosting the biggest edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games later this month is traffic.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the agency tasked to oversee traffic management in all clusters of the Games, bared their plans for the upcoming sporting event.
The SEA Games, which will be held from November 30 to December 11, will certainly be affected by the yearly phenomenon known as the Christmas rush, where there is a spike of 20% to the overall volume of vehicles passing through the National Capital Region, according to the MMDA.
In order to assure traffic will be well-maintained throughout the affair, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim implemented a "No Day Off, No Leave and No Absent Policy" from November 30 until December 11.
"This is to ensure all personnel involved in the SEA Games are in full force during the entire conduct of the Games from the Opening Ceremonies until the Closing," MMDA Command Center Chief Col. Edison "Bong" Nebrija told ESPN5.com.
More than 2,000 traffic constables, 325 of which will be stationed along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), shall be involved in this affair, added Nebrija.
Officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will also be involved as augmentation, as mentioned by MMDA Spokesperson Asec. Celine Pialago to ESPN5.
Nebrija explained that there will be no special lanes along EDSA unlike the ASEAN Summit held in Manila a few years ago, and will instead implement a stop-and-go scheme.
The stop-and-go scheme will be executed once the motorcade of the buses carrying athletes and foreign media passes by, as motorcycle escorts will help clear lanes and direct traffic.
It will be the process followed from all hotels and billeting places until the various venues in Metro Manila.
Moreover, to ensure that traffic along Manila's most important thoroughfare will run as smoothly as possible, the motorcade will traverse EDSA's yellow lane.
The 23.8 kilometer-long avenue will host several events along its length, including skating at SM Megamall and bowling at Starmall in Shaw Boulevard.
For the other parts of the Metro, the MMDA had suggested several measures to Malacañang in order to help ease gridlock along the areas.
According to Pialago, the agency had suggested class holidays for seven schools near the venues. She, however, explained that the seven cannot be identified yet, since the measure had not yet been approved.
Pialago also added that they recommended to close parts of Pablo Ocampo (formerly Vito Cruz) and M. Adriatico, the streets intersecting the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Malate Manila, but had also not yet been approved.
Simulations will be conducted for the next several weeks to help iron out any kinks.
On Wednesday, the Philippine Sports Commission will host a send-off pep rally dubbed the "Send-off ng Bayan" in the RMSC, which will be the first simulation of the agency on the possible road closures in the area.
On Thursday, buses from all clusters, will be escorted by motorcycle riders in all clusters, including Metro Manila, Clark, Subic, and Southern Luzon to simulate the motorcades.
Meanwhile, a dry run of the opening ceremonies will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on November 26. The MMDA, along with the PNP's Central Luzon Police Regional Office, will handling the event.
Pialago asks the general public for understanding for any possible delays but also made an assurance.
"Rest assured that the motorists will go back to the normal flow of traffic once the motorcade passes already," the spokesperson said.
"We are the hosts of the 30th SEA Games, we have to make sure we transport our athletes and our visiting athletes everyday, which can be safe, efficient, and convenient for them. We don't want them to be delayed, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the ordinary Filipino should be, so that's why our approach will be stop-and-go," she furthered.