Heavy traffic experienced along Taft Ave. in light of Papal Visit

Lasallians got a glimpse of the heavy traffic situation that could be experienced in Metro Manila from January 15 to 19. The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) conducted a dry run of the Papal Motorcade last January 12 shortly before 7 pm.

The stretch of Taft Avenue from Quirino Avenue to Vito Cruz was closed to vehicles while pedestrians were screened for their purpose of going within the vicinity. Pope Francis will be staying at the Nunciature, located a few meters from the Quirino LRT station, during his upcoming visit to the Philippines. Practicing the transportation of the Pope from his official residence to the different venues included in his itinerary was the culprit behind the heavy traffic experienced along Taft Avenue and nearby thoroughfares yesterday.


All southbound vehicles were rerouted to pass through Malate to avoid the stretch from Quirino to Vito Cruz, according to MMDA officer Willy Eclipse. Northbound cars had no other choice but to traverse the side streets in the Leon Guinto-Pedro Gil area to avoid the traffic build up. Those coming from Osmena Highway were asked to take a similar route, Eclipse added.

Many Lasallians were unable to leave the area of the campus while the dry run was being implemented. Most students were not informed of the exercise, deterring their commute home. Angeline Pama (III, ISE) was waiting to be fetched at South Gate for almost an hour before being informed of the traffic situation. Her car was stuck in the traffic jam and was stalled too far from the University. Pama explained that she might have a difficult time locating her driver if she started to walk and then the build-up would suddenly start to ease. She decided to wait in South Gate instead.

The 6 pm classes of Kaila Go (IV, MKT) and Audrey Ngui (IV, IBS) were cancelled because their professors were unable to make it to La Salle on time. Go and Ngui expressed their frustration over the sudden closing of Taft Ave. They mentioned that effective communication between the local government and the establishments affected by the dry run could have prevented what happened.

A representative of the University’s Security and Safety Office (SSO) informed over the phone that they, too, were surprised by the sudden closing of Taft Avenue to vehicles. The PNP and MMDA only coordinated with the office when they were already in the area for the dry run. Officers from the SSO were quick to their feet to disseminate the traffic condition to the Lasallian community, but with a limited headcount, many Lasallian students and professors were still left uninformed. According to the SSO representitive, the PNP and the MMDA told them that the papal motorcade dry run will ensue only from 5 pm to 7 pm. Taft Avenue was opened to the public past 8 pm already yesterday.

Furthermore, the University’s Office of the President and Chancellor sent an email dated January 13 that declared the suspension of classes and office work in the Taft Campus on January 14 in anticipation of “road closures in preparation for the Papal Visit.” 

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19 and these days have all been declared holidays. Most of the Papal Visit activities will transpire in the Manila area and classes will resume on January 20–a day after Pope Francis flies out of the Philippines.

 With reports from Ronaldo Manzano

Jessy Go

By Jessy Go

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