San Juan, MMDA clash over Mabuhay Lanes
On the fourth day of road clearing operations for the Mabuhay Lanes, a local government that collects fees for the use of some streets as parking areas refused to yield them to the control of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The San Juan city government on Thursday invoked a 1998 ordinance to prevent the MMDA from removing vehicles parked on Club Filipino Avenue and Annapolis Street.
Grace Pardines, the city’s public information officer, said an ordinance approved during the term of then mayor and now Sen. Jinggoy Estrada designated those two streets as “pay parking zones.”
The measure also covers Wilson (from Don Miguel to P. Guevarra), Ortega, E. Rodriguez, Abad Santos St. (from Wilson to M. Reyes), Missouri and Connecticut streets.
“If we allow (the MMDA) to proceed, we will be subject to a suit,” said Pardines, who rushed to the site as an MMDA team started towing vehicles around 8 a.m.
In an interview, Pardines said motorists paying for parking on those streets were issued receipts by City Hall. The ordinance sets the fees at P20 for the first three hours and P10 for every succeeding hour.
“The vehicles are entrusted to the city government,” she stressed, adding that “only” Congress could “supersede local laws.”
The MMDA team, led by Task Force Mabuhay chief Nestor Mendoza, initially insisted that their operation had a clearance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
But Mendoza eventually pulled out after receiving instructions from his superiors and released nine motorcycles that had been already marked for impounding.
Pardines said Ranulfo Dacalos, the city administrator, had explained the City Hall’s position in a phone call to MMDA chair Emerson Carlos. “Since they are both lawyers, they understood each other. So it was OK after that,” Pardines said.
This year, the MMDA has designated 17 Mabuhay Lanes (also known as Christmas Lanes), a network of alternative routes for motorists who want avoid Edsa during the holiday season.
Mendoza said his team was supposed to tow about 60 motorcycles and private cars from Annapolis to Eisenhower since these streets are covered by Routes 8 and 9.
But he decided to defer the operations in San Juan that morning since they did not have a written directive from the DILG “superseding the city ordinance.”
But a DILG directive authorizing the team to continue with the clearing operations was finally released Thursday afternoon, he said. “As soon as I am given a copy of the order, we will proceed with the clearing.”
In a statement, Carlos said the MMDA would continue to “implement our mandate” and the DILG memo to clear all alternative routes of obstructions.
The MMDA had cited 147 vehicles for illegal parking along the Mabuhay Lanes since Monday.
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