Nationalist People’s Coalition Congressman (NPC) Win Gatchalian has asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to forge an agreement with mall owners on changing mall operating hours in consideration of next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting.
“It is crucial that the MMDA coordinate with malls to control the flow of a possibly large number of shoppers traversing EDSA and other major thoroughfares to ensure smooth traffic while delegates attend APEC events in the country,” said Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development.
The Palace has already suspended work in the public sector from Nov. 17 to 20 and in the private sector from Nov. 18 to 19 due to the APEC summit. Classes in all levels in Metro Manila have also been suspended for four days until Nov. 20.
“With the announcement of the non-working holiday, people will likely go to malls with the event scheduled closely with the payday on the 15th and given the lack of green and safe public spaces like parks in Metro Manila,” Gatchalian pointed out.
Gatchalian explained: “Most people will not have time to go to the provinces as the holiday for the private sector is only two days and sandwiched between weekdays. Also, there will be no-fly zones. If you recall, nearly 200 local and international flights were cancelled during the papal visit, and those are by two airlines alone– Cebu Pacific and Tigerair.”
Mall owners have previously cooperated with the MMDA and adjusted their operating hours during holidays to help ease the worsening road congestion. “This event will barely last a week so their sales will not be dampen with the change in schedules,” said Gatchalian.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte has encouraged families to travel outside of Metro Manila, as the summit will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
The MMDA will open dedicated lanes in EDSA and Roxas Boulevard during the summit for the delegates’ exclusive use. Such lanes would start in Mandaluyong as some delegates will stay in hotels in the said area. (Monica Cantilero)