Street lighting program Manila’s effective weapon against crime

Early in the term of Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada in 2013, he enunciated the overriding principle of his administration of the city. He said that for any locality to attain progress and maintain a sustainable and robust economy, the first order of business is peace and order.

GARBAGE OUT. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada personally leads the garbage clearing operations along Radial Road 10 in Zaragoza, Tondo on Friday. Lino Santos
So Mayor Estrada immediately took care of the Manila Police Department to maintain the peace in Manila.  Without much funds in the city coffers -- Mayor Erap said the former administration left some P4 billion in debts still payable by the city -- he tried his best to pay the backlog in additional allowances of the police.  Incidentally, the city of Manila now is debt-free according to Mayor Estrada.

In return, the policemen’s morale was refurbished, sustaining a big boost.  The MPD itself was given an award for becoming the best police district in Metro Manila, the award coming from the National Capital Region Police Office. Crimes such as kidnapping, carnapping, homicide, and robbery were minimized.

Traffic of course was the biggest beneficiary of Mayor Estrada’s campaign, for provincial and city buses without terminals in Manila were prohibited to enter the city, and loading terminals were rationalized.

One basic requirement for a peaceful, crime-free community is lighting, street lighting in particular.  This is because a well-lit place discourages the commission of a crime. And towards this end, the mayor trained his sights.

Adequate and working street lights also promote business and tourism, as residents and officials of any big city in the world will testify.

These are the underlying reasons why Mayor Joseph Estrada, who is now nearing his third and final term as mayor of the City of Manila, is pursuing the putting up of street lights in the city’s six districts.

Among the latest lighting projects finished by the City Electrician’s Office headed by Engr. Lorenzo Alconera are in Wagas St., from Moriones to Zaragosa, Zaragosa St. from Wagas to Luwalhati and Luwalhati St. from Zaragosa to Sandico, and Quezon St. from Moriones to C2 Capulong St., all in Tondo.

Others include Tomas Mapua St. from Alvarez to Ongpin, Antonio Rivera St. from Recto Ave. to Tayuman, Anonas and Hipodromo Streets in Sta. Mesa and Sergio Loyola St. from Recto Ave. to Matimyas St. in Sampaloc.

Engineer Alconera said all these new street lights use LED lamps that are environment-friendly, sturdy and cheap to maintain, aside from their proven durability and reliability in giving the needed illumination in city streets.

“Every city street, district, zone, and barangay is a priority in our street lighting program.  Each area, whether residential, commercial, industrial, educational, tourist-oriented or religious and historical, is an important part of the city and will not be left out in this effort to light up Manila,” said Mayor Estrada.

Every Christmas season when thousands of Manilans and other residents flock to Divisoria in Tondo and Binondo to buy gifts and goods, the mayor sees to it that enough lighting facilities are installed in the said marketing areas.

In 2016, Estrada personally led the inauguration of 137 brand-new lamp posts along Benavidez and Asuncion Streets in the Divisoria area.  This is because the 1.5-kilometer length of the area was dimly lit then.

Since 2013, Estrada has embarked on a multimillion-peso street lighting program to light up the entire city, from major thoroughfares to small barangay roads, as an anti-crime measure and in pursuance of his sustained urban renewal and beautification program for Manila.

Well-lit roads, Mayor Erap pointed out, also help promote trade in commercial and tourist areas such as Ermita and Malate.

The city government has so far installed new lamp posts along a total of more than 100 kilometers worth over P150 million.  The early beneficiaries of this lighting project are the areas of Dapitan, Moriones, Del Pilar, Mabini, Pedro Gil, Onyx, and Oroquieta, along with portions of Taft Avenue, Vito Cruz, United Nations Avenue, Quirino Ave., Espana Blvd, Quezon Blvd. and Lacson Ave.

The mayor thanked the City Council of Manila for supporting his street lighting program every year through the allocation of an adequate item in the city budget. Every year, more than P100 million is allocated by the city government for its street lighting program.

The program has an original objective of setting up 2,938 units of street lights, and Alconera said his office under the City Engineer’s Office is on track in meeting this goal. The City Engineer’s Office is headed by Engr. Rogelio Legaspi.

Mayor Erap also quoted reports from barangay chairmen in the city’s six districts that the operation of the street lights has drastically reduced street crimes through the city, particularly at night time.

The project is also implemented in line with the city government’s urban renewal program which is aimed at reviving Manila’s old glory. This effort includes landscaping, renovation of historic parks and monuments including plazas, and the provision of toilet and other facilities in public places such as markets and parks.

Not only streets but also bridges such as Quezon Bridge in Quiapo are priority sites for the lighting program.

Alconera’s team is also busy maintaining these street lights, mostly ensuring that these facilities are not attacked by thieves and vandals.

Topics: Manila , Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada , Manila Police Department , National Capital Region Police Office
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