New MMDA chair lays out plans for Metro Manila

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. (Photo courtesy of BenHur Abalos Facebook Page)

MANILA – Following his oath of office on Tuesday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. said he plans on continuing the programs of his predecessor, the late Brigadier General Danilo “Danny” Lim, (Ret.).

In a press conference, Abalos said his initial focus will be on the management of traffic, waste, flooding, and enforcement of health and safety protocols in areas under the MMDA.

He plans to meet with several national government officials such as Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, the commander of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), and the several mayors of Metro Manila.

Ako po ay isang coordinator lang. Ang bibigyan ng focus ng husto ay ang mga importanteng proyekto dito sa Kalakhang Maynila (I’m simply a coordinator. What we will focus on are important projects in Metro Manila),” Abalos said.

In particular, he said the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) Busway will be further improved under his administration.

Maluwang na ngayon ang bus lane — i-improve po natin yan, pagagandahin at ipapakita po namin ang mga plano for the next several months dito (The bus lane is already wide. We will improve on that further, we’ll make it look better and we’ll show our plans in the next several months),” Abalos said.

To possibly reduce motorcycle accidents, he is eyeing the relocation of the motorcycle lane in EDSA from middle lanes to the right-most lanes.

Kung luluwang ng husto, malay niyo may bike lane pa yan (If it will be wide enough, maybe it will have a bike lane),” Abalos said.

He said pedestrian walkways are also being considered to further support projects in EDSA.

Nag-uusap kami ni Secretary Tugade na pinaka-maganda sa lahat ay magkaroon tayo ng pedestrian walkway. Ito yung may plano, malaki ang budget. Kasi kung wala, titignan natin how we can compensate here (I’ve been talking with Secretary Tugade and foremost is we’re planning on having a pedestrian walkway. There are plans for this, a big budget. If there’s none, we will compensate),” Abalos said.

On Monday evening, Abalos took his oath before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the new chairman of the MMDA.

He served as mayor of Mandaluyong City for 15 years — from 1998 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2016 — and as the city’s lone representative from 2004 to 2007. His father, Benjamin Abalos Sr., also served as MMDA chair from 2001 to 2002. (PNA)

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