New malls hours for the holiday season
Malls in Metro Manila have released new schedules for their operating hours these holidays. This is to advise the public, especially those who plan to do some last minute Christmas shopping, of changed mall opening and closing hours.
Shoppers can visit the official websites and Facebook pages of supermalls like SM Malls, Robinson Malls, and Ayala Malls, for their updated schedules.
Along with these new schedules, malls in Metro Manila are still working with the government to avoid weekday sales to improve the traffic.
Tax and Duty free balikbayan boxes for OFWs
Less charges for balikbayan boxes this Christmas
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) will be enjoying a tax-free and duty-free service whenever they send their ‘balikbayan’ boxes starting this Christmas Day, December 25.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Finance signed Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2016 allowing qualified OFWs to avail of the tax-free and duty-free services when they send their packages home as long as these only contain personal effects and household goods that are not in commercial quantities. Also the total amount of the goods should not exceed PhP150,000. OFWs can avail of this privilege three times a year.
To check if you or someone you know abroad is qualified of this privilege, visit http://customs.gov.ph/cao-05-2016-duty-tax-free-balikbayan-boxes/ for the details.
Free shuttle rides for ferry commuters
Ferry commuters will be enjoying free shuttle rides this month. (Image: Government)
The Interagency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) in partnership with Megaworld Corp., launched a free shuttle service for Pasig ferry commuters bringing them directly to some malls in Manila City all throughout this month until the first week on January.
Eight 30-seater shuttle services are already deployed in Guadalupe station giving free rides to Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City, and three 15-seater vans are also making rounds in Escolta station to Lucky Chinatown Mall in Divisoria, and vice versa.
The goal of this new service is to provide an easier access for commuters directly to the shopping malls in the metro and at the same time encourage the public to use the government’s ferry services. I-ACT hopes that by increasing the volume of ferry commuters, the effect would be a reduction in land traffic in Metro Manila and lesser carbon footprint by the country.
LTFRB launches OplanIsnabero
Picky taxi drivers may now be immediately reported, thanks to OplanIsnabero.
To intensify the fight against picky taxi drivers this holiday season, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) once again launched their yearly campaign called “OplanIsnabero.”
The LTFRB with the help of mall owners in Metro Manila placed standees along their taxi bays where commuters can directly write their complaint against a taxi driver. LTFRB enforcers are also deployed to help commuters with their complaint.
With OplanIsnabero in full swing, commuters can report taxi drivers who:
• do not give change to passengers do not wear an identification card,
• do not observe safety rules while driving,
• do not reach out to the people with disabilities (PWD), pregnant women, and senior citizens,
• refuse to convey passengers, or
• do not properly use the taxi meters.
Stricter I-ACT this Christmas rush
I-ACT will be extra vigilant in the coming days. (Image: Government)
Despite the heavier flow of traffic and busier streets, Inter-agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) promises to continue to enforce strict rules to motorist this coming holiday season.
One of I-ACT’s plans to help the flow of traffic is to strengthen man power on choke points along EDSA between Timog and Ayala, as these are where heavy traffic occurs. MMDA will still apprehend motorists who don’t comply with traffic rules as long as it won’t affect the flow of traffic. Those that are not apprehended will still receive their citation tickets through the ‘no-contact apprehension policy.’
I-ACT will provide additional hand-held radios to their enforcers to improve their efficiency and communication and will implement a no day-off and no absent policy from December 21 to 24.
New policies for provincial buses and bus terminals
Provincial buses will be exempted from coding on December 22 and 23. (Image: Government)
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be exempting all provincial buses from the unified vehicular volume reduction program (UVVRP) or the number coding system on December 22 and 23. MMDA hopes to provide more buses for the commuters who wish to go home or travel to their provinces this holiday season. The same rule will also be implemented on December 29, 2016 and January 2, 2017.
Meanwhile, MMDA also reminds provincial bus operators and drivers with terminals along EDSA that the “Nose In, Nose Out” policy is already in full swing and must be observed. This means that buses must be able to get in and out of their terminals with one maneuver to avoid traffic along EDSA.
EVENTS, CONVENTIONS, CONCERTS, FESTIVALS
2016 Metro Manila Film Festival
MMFF will be coming to the cinemas on Christmas Day. (Image: MMFF Official Facebook page)
The 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will start this Christmas Day, December 25. The eight movie finalists selected by the MMFF jurors will be played in all cinemas in the country except in 3D and IMAX. No foreign movies will be shown during the festival until the first weekend of January.
This year’s festival movie line-up is expected to be diverse with MMDA’s new set of jurors and new selection criteria for the films. In line with the festival, there will be the traditional Parade of Stars which will be held on December 23 and the festivals’ awards night or Gabi ng Parangal to be held on December 29.
Below are the movies included in this year’s MMFF:
• Vince & Kath & James
• Die Beautiful
• Sunday Beauty Queen
• Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough
• Saving Sally
SM Mall of Asia’s Grand Festival of Lights
SM MOA’s Grand Festival of Lights this Christmas Day
SM Mall of Asia will be having the last installment of their Grand Festival of Lights this Christmas Day, December 25. This grand parade includes all things Christmas such as Santa Claus and some of his friends from the North Pole.
Parade is free and will start at 5:30 PM.
Click the store names to see their exact addresses and contact numbers.