The Quezon City government ordered the city police to clear the sidewalks and streets of Quirino Highway of traffic obstructions, especially the area fronting ABC 5 at Barangay San Bartolome, which was reportedly being used as an extension studio of avid followers of the network’s Willing Willie program.
The order came after the office of QC secretary to the mayor, Tadeo Palma, received numerous traffic complaints from motorists adversely affected by the daily convergence in the area of regular watchers of the show hosted daily by controversial television personality Willie Revillame from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Palma said the city government is also considering revoking the business permit of the show once it failed to follow the city’s public safety requirement, which he said, was also aimed at protecting the safety of the crowd, who usually form long queues just to gain entry to Revillame’s game show. The show’s main attraction is the daily giving away of millions of pesos of cash prizes as well as cars and house and lots.
“Simula po ngayon, mahigpit pong ipinagbabawal ng pamahalaang lungsod ang pagpila o pag-istambay sa kahabaan ng Quirino Highway,” Palma said in his instruction.
Palma has already coordinated with the management of ABC-5 and SM City Novaliches to ensure the orderly flow of traffic along Quirino Highway. “What is imperative is that we prevent anarchy in our city streets,” Palma said.
Task Force Quirino Highway was formed to oversee the traffic management situation in the area. The task force, headed by Palma, will have as members, representatives from the QC Department of Public Order and Safety, QC Police District, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), ABC-5, SM Novaliches and concerned barangays.
The formation of the task force was finalized during a meeting called by Rep. Winston Castelo of District II.
To date, traffic enforcers from the DPOS, under former QCPD director Elmo San Diego, have adjusted their tour of duty to relieve Quirino Highway of traffic congestion, particularly in front of Channel 5 at Barangay San Bartolome.
The DPOS has also been directed to provide “No loading/Unloading” signs in the area as well as railings along Quirino Highway to prevent people from occupying the main road.
At a given time, authorities estimated that around 5,000 fans of the “Willing Willie” program started converging at the area as early as 4 a.m. Some of them, particularly those from the outskirts of Metro Manila, even stayed overnight just to be accommodated in the show the following day. -30- Maureen Quinones, PAISO.