MMDA exempts medical frontliners from modified coding scheme

By Jel Santos 

After reaping backlash from netizens, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday said they will give medical frontliners the privilege to use their vehicles without being apprehended when the modified number coding scheme is imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) on June 1.

(Washington State Dept of Transportation / MANILA BULLETIN) (Washington State Dept of Transportation / MANILA BULLETIN)

Under the modified scheme, coded vehicles will be allowed to travel on major roads on the condition that they include at least one passenger to maximize the use of the vehicle.

On Tuesday night, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia said frontliners are not exempted from the modified number coding scheme. He later changed his tune, saying they understand the plight of frontliners and are exempting them from the scheme, but urge them to carry at least one more passenger.

Netizens, most of them working in the medical field, took to social media to voice their dismay over the pronouncements of Garcia.

“The MMDA understands the plight of the medical frontliners so we want to assist them during this challenging time. We hope that by exempting them from the modified number coding scheme, we are helping to provide ease and convenience to their daily transport,” the MMDA general manager said.

Garcia said the reason for implementing the modified scheme is for vehicles to maximize the number of passengers they carry.

“Vehicles carrying more than one passenger, depending on the guidelines of the IATF on allowed passengers per type of vehicles, will be exempted from the existing number coding scheme. We want the motorists to maximize the use of private vehicles on the road,” he said.

Garcia said the modified scheme was unanimously agreed upon by all 17 Metro Manila mayors during a teleconference meeting Tuesday night.

The MMC agreed to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) a transition to General Community Quarantine after the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) over NCR expires on May 31.