MMDA eyes compromise on truck ban; truckers won't budge
MANILA - The Metro Manila Development Authority is eyeing a compromise in the City of Manila's decision to expand a daytime truck ban.
Speaking to radio DZMM, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said Metro Manila mayors have agreed to ask Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada not to make major apprehensions of trucks on Manila roads from 3pm-5pm for the next two weeks.
"Tutupad muna yung 10 am-3pm but give additional 2 hours that there would be no major apprehensions from 3-4 pm or 3-5 pm in Manila except for those that are illegally parked or stalled trucks or naka-obstruct dun sa Del Pan Bridge, which is barred by [Public Works] Secretary [Babes] Singson. This is actually based on the request of truckers," he said.
Tolentino said the Metro Manila mayors have asked Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista to bring the proposal to Estrada.
The problem, however, is that none of the major trucker associations are amenable to the proposal and refused to sign off.
Tolentino said truckers insist on the removal of the Manila truck ban and assign a dedicated truck lane inside the city.
He said the request is impossible since there is not enough road space in Manila to give trucks a dedicated lane.
"Ang point of contention is to remove the truck ban and give a dedicated truck lane. Umaapela tayo sa kanila. Humihingi ako ng paumanhin ngayon napataas na rin ang boses ko. Sabi ko: 'Parang hindi naman kayo Pilipino. Magtulungan naman tayo na mailabas itong nasa loob,'" he recalled.
"Wala na tayong espasyo na ibibigay. Alam naman natin yun e," he added.
He also nixed a proposal to allow truckers to use Sucat Road since it will soon be affected by the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) elevated expressway.
"Maraming warehouses sa Sucat pero pag ginawa ang NAIA elevated expressway sarado na rin ang Sucat," he said.
Manila has expanded the truck ban hours, allowing truckers to use its roads only from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The city government later introduced a window period from 10 am to 3 pm.
Truckers at the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port have gone on strike since Monday to protest the truck ban. A TV Patrol report said the strike has led to more than P100 million in losses in revenue collections. [ TV Patrol - http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/nation/metro-manila/02/25/14/port-manila-micp-lose-p100m-amid-truck-ban]
In a separate interview, Mayor Estrada said he is standing firm on the implementation of the revised truck ban that has led to improved traffic in the city.
He said that while he has yet to get the letter from Bautista, he had already agreed that police will not apprehend trucks coming from Manila ports that still have cargo.
"Lahat na may laman na container vans na lumabas sa Customs exempted. Walang huli. Ang huhulihin lamang ay mga container vans na walang cargo, walang laman," he told radio DZMM.
The ban already exempts trucks carrying perishables and petroleum products, as well as vehicles used for government projects.
Estrada said trucks that clog roads from Manila ports all the way to the Del Pan Bridge constitute a traffic hazard.
"Hindi naman nagbabayad ng parking yan at nanggaling na rin kay Secretary Singson na ang Del Pan Bridge na hanggang dun ang pila ng truck, sinabi na ni Secretary Singson na may depekto na ang structure ng Del Pan. Baka bumagsak ang Del Pan bridge e kami pa ang masisi," he said.
Estrada said the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) should allow truckers to park within its massive facility in the port area instead of along Manila roads.
"Inspeksyunin natin yung loob ng Philippine Ports Authority. Merong 8-10 hektarya dun na bakante, walang nakaparada. Bakit hindi nila papasukin itong mga truck?" he asked.