By Miko Morelos
Watch out for the “Men in Red.”
Starting Monday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel dressed in bright red shirts will go after pedestrians who refuse to use footbridges or designated crossing lanes as the agency renews its drive against jaywalkers.
Those who are apprehended on Monday will be let off with a warning.
However, starting Tuesday, jaywalkers will be issued a citation ticket and face a fine of P200. Should they be unable to pay up, they will be given an on-the-spot lecture on disaster preparedness by MMDA personnel.
MMDA assistant general manager for operations Emerson Carlos explained that the 15-minute lecture was timely and very important as it was aimed at increasing public awareness on what to do when natural calamities strike.
It will also give the MMDA a chance to recruit volunteers for its rescue volunteer group, which the agency could tap during emergencies, he added.
“Though [people] may not join the group, the knowledge they will gain [through] the lecture will allow them to survive,” he said.
Earlier, the Metro Manila Council—the agency’s policy-making arm whose members are the mayors of the metropolis’ 16 cities and lone municipality—approved a hike in the penalty for jaywalking from P150 to P200.
This was in preparation for the deployment of the MMDA’s newly organized anti-jaywalking unit, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a radio interview Monday.
“The repainting of pedestrian lanes has yet to be completed but our personnel are working on it,” he added. “In the meantime, our anti-jaywalking unit will help people, especially the elderly, cross the street.”
According to Tolentino, the campaign aims to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way and restore order on the streets.
Last week, a television news program aired footage provided by MMDA Metrobase that showed a man being hit by a car as he crossed the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard intersection.
Meanwhile, minors caught jaywalking will receive just a warning since the juvenile justice law exempts children below 18 years of age from criminal liability.