Prior to ex-Pres. Aquino’s order for the PNP-Highway Patrol Group’s (HPG) to “fix” EDSA, Balintawak Market always caused a traffic buildup. Vendors occupy 1-lane, 1-lane is filled with patrons’ and suppliers’ vehicles, 1-lane has become the “terminal” of unfilled PUJs and yet another lane served as the “unloading/loading” area for other PUVs. This means that out of 5-lanes in that portion of EDSA, passing vehicles are left with only 1-lane to use.

And what’s exacerbating is that all of these are usually happening under the watchful eyes of MMDA Traffic Enforcers posted at the area. Makes anyone who emerges from the bottleneck and sees them to think that either these MMDA personnel are too afraid to do their job or they’re taking bribes to “let it slide”- either way they’re useless and they should be relieved.

Of course, when HPG took over EDSA they ended this long-standing madness. I’m sure that countless motorists who felt the welcome change are gratified and grateful to the HPG Officers for a job well done.

I submit that besides the doubled salary our PNP are going to get this Dec., increased hazard pay should be given to HPG field personnel and incentives, too, for those doing exemplary work.

However, I’ve noticed over the past week that vendors and patrons’ vehicles are “creeping” back to their old places by occupying 1-2 lanes of EDSA again – not a single HPG Officer or vehicle is around but (like the old chaotic days) there are MMDA Traffic Enforcers. The “creeping” 2-lane annexation hasn’t resulted in a buildup as worse as the pre-HPG times but it will naturally come to that if left unabated. I hope that newly appointed HPG Head Sr. Supt. Antonio Gardiola and DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade doesn’t let this Balintawak Market chaos happen again. Who knows how much longer it’ll take before the Balintawak Market is closed or moved in order to accommodate the new Ayala Cloverleaf development.