Anti-jaywalking Drive Nets 1,544 Violators

MANILA, Philippines --- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)'s anti- jaywalking drive has netted more than 1,500 violators in just one week of implementation.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said 1,544 individuals were apprehended in the week after the formal launch of the renewed anti-jaywalking crackdown in the metropolis as part of its campaign to promote road safety.

"Figures only showed the need to further intensify the campaign along with an information drive to educate the public on the need to use pedestrian lanes and footbridges in crossing streets and roadways," said Tolentino.

He said the agency is coordinating with the local government units (LGU) to augment the 99-man Anti-Jaywalking Unit or the "Men in Red" deployed at various points in Metro Manila, including on Commonwealth Avenue, Ortigas Avenue, Balintawak, Pasay-Taft Rotonda and Litex-Novaliches where a lot of road accidents related to jaywalking have been recorded in the past few years.

"We are going to tie up with the LGUs to help us in the intensified campaign," especially on C-5 Road in Taguig and the University Belt in Manila where many jaywalking-related accidents also occur, he said.

The MMDA chairman said the urgency for educating the public was underscored by another hit-and-run incident early morning Monday at the north-bound lane of EDSA-White Plains.

Tolentino said the man who body was found in the middle of the road at 3:30 a.m. may have been hit while crossing the wide thoroughfare.

Figures from the agency's Metro Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis System (MMARAS) showed that 174 pedestrians were killed last year after being hit by speeding vehicles. A total of 5, 348 jaywalking-related accidents were recorded in 2011, compared to 4, 951 in 2010 when 167 pedestrians were killed.

The agency's records showed that 361 violators of the anti-jaywalking campaign were nabbed last Monday at the start of the crackdown and 356 the following day, 379 on June 7 until it reached the current figure.

They were fined P200 after the Metro Manila Council (MMC) approved an increase in the penalty late last month. However, those who cannot afford to pay the fine were given a 15-minute on-the-spot lecture on road safety and disaster preparedness by trained personnel of the agency

Exempted from paying the fine are senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWD) and minors though Tolentino clarified they are still covered by the anti-jaywalking law.

Aside from the deployment of the "Men in Red", the agency also installed warning signs with the word "Jaywalker ako Pasaway to deter would-be-jaywalkers.

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