Vicki Belo has drawn a following in the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in her beauty skin care crusade.
The popular dermatologist’s prescription for sunblock is on the wish list of the HPG, along with vitamins and water jugs, as it attempts to untangle the horrendous traffic jams on Edsa.
Donations have poured after Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao appealed for the private-sector assistance to keep his men protected against prolonged exposure to sun and rain.
One of the HPG director’s concerns was the need for sunblock for the traffic policemen, who stay for a long time under the sun at various times of the day.
“When I saw an advertisement of Vicki Belo, I remembered my policemen who stay under the sun. They need sunblock, not because they shouldn’t have darker skin, but because of the protection it offers from ultraviolet rays,” Gunnacao told reporters on Thursday.
The HPG also is studying ways to get light fabric for the uniforms of its policemen so they can be more comfortable under the sun, he said.
On Thursday, Day 4 of its deployment on Edsa, the HPG received 24 tents from Hydro construction company for use as command posts at the choke points and shelter for commuters during rainstorms.
“This public-private partnership is the essence of the Filipino value of bayanihan. We can only do much about the traffic situation on Edsa, but we know we can do it with your support,” said the HPG spokesman, Supt. Oliver Tanseco.
On Wednesday, two organizations turned over raincoats, ponchos, boots, reflectorized gloves and other equipment to the HPG, which has deployed 150 of its men to take over management of six choke points along Edsa from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
As for the policemen’s need to relieve themselves, Gunnacao said he had ordered a survey of the six choke points to identify establishments that would give his men access to toilets.
“We have talked to the management of these establishments that just by giving our policemen permission to use their restrooms, is already a big help to the HPG,” Gunnacao said.
He said things were improving, with the traffic flow lighter and not as bad in their first few days.
He blamed unforeseen circumstances such as sudden road repairs like asphalt-laying projects, which contributed to the monstrous traffic jams on Tuesday and Wednesday.
As of Thursday, the HPG had made 271 apprehensions, mostly for obstruction, illegal parking and shifting lanes. Most of the offenders were bus drivers. There were no reported bribery attempts.
The HPG now has 190 MMDA personnel helping out after initial deployment problems were sorted out. The MMDA used to field 500 personnel on Edsa before the HPG takeover. It is also coordinating with other police districts to ensure that peripheral roads are managed well.
Gunnacao said he wanted to reduce travel time on Edsa by at least 15 minutes, to a maximum reduction of 30 minutes from Caloocan City to Pasay City.
Motorists should try avoiding Edsa, especially when it rains, he said. Flooding in the Magallanes area during a heavy rain causes monstrous traffic jams in the metropolis.
Motorists headed to southern Metro Manila or Cavite province may turn left on McKinley Road and enter the Fort Bonifacio area, exiting through Bayani Road and out on C-5 Road.
Those headed to Pasay City, can take the same route and pass through Villamor Air Base, the Resorts World Manila in Newport, the airport and out to Roxas Boulevard.
They can also turn right on J.P. Rizal Avenue in the Guadalupe area, or turn left on Ortigas Boulevard and exit at C-5 Road.
For those headed to Manila, they can turn right on Shaw Boulevard and head to J.P. Rizal Avenue, which will cross Pedro Gil Street in Manila.