Truckers need discipline, says Manila gov't

Posted at 03/01/2014 10:35 AM | Updated as of 03/01/2014 10:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Truck drivers should discipline their own ranks and strictly follow the daytime truck ban implemented by the Manila city government, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno said yesterday.

Moreno led the police in implementing the truck ban early yesterday morning.

“Manila has a government night and day. We just want to remind the truck drivers and the people in the city that Manila is not sleeping,” he said.

“We are only after discipline. We do not have any objective but to put everything in order in the decaying Manila,” Moreno told GMA-7, which showed a video of a policeman drawing his gun to prevent a truck driver from running him over.

The resisting truck driver was given a ticket for violating the daytime truck ban and ordered to pay a fine of P5,000.

Moreno said the city government is determined to strictly implement the daytime truck ban until all the truck drivers learn to follow the law.

Under the daytime truck ban, empty trucks are banned from traveling the city’s streets from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays.

The truck drivers were given a window from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

They can also travel in Manila from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said loaded trucks are exempted from the daytime truck ban.

The vehicles covered by the daytime truck ban include 8-wheeler trucks with gross weight of 4,500 kilograms.

The daytime truck ban ordinance also provided new routes for trucks.

Estrada said the city government started implementing the daytime truck ban in anticipation of the heavy traffic caused by the construction of a new skyway along Osmeña Highway and the road reblocking being done on EDSA.

The city government of Manila began implementing a new truck ban as a compromise after intense opposition from traders and the trucking operators association.

Truckers staged a “truck holiday” as a protest by keeping cargoes in the seaports of Manila and crippled cargo transport to and from the city.

The strike was lifted after Estrada offered a compromise this week that would permit use of the city roads by trucks over longer daytime hours.

Truckers, however, said the compromise daytime empty truck ban, on its second day of experiment yesterday, was already showing the pain in reduced deliveries in a day.

Albert Suansing of the Confederation of Truck Association of the Philippines (CTAP) said that making matters worse was the numerous citations of violation of the daytime truck ban and towing of the trucks, and the stiff penalties imposed on violators.

The total penalties slapped on violators ran up to P10,000 because aside from the citation ticket issued to erring truck drivers, there was a towing fee charged, Suansing said.

“There are around 100 trucks towed,” Suansing said. “Those cited for truck ban violation is around 200 cases already, both empty and loaded.”

Suansing said the violations of the truck ban arose from attempts of truck drivers to make their deliveries and then come back to their garage within the 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. window.

“They are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he said.

Suansing said yesterday’s traffic snarls in Manila should not be blamed all on the Manila city government giving truckers a 10 am to 5 pm window for loaded trucks.

“It (traffic) is not managed properly,” he said.

On the other hand, the state-run Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has laid down a list of measures to further reduce vehicular traffic in and out of the Manila ports even during daytime truck ban.

PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana said the measures would substantially reduce the truckers’ turn-around time, enabling import and export container deliveries to be delivered faster and more efficiently to and from the ports of Manila and private manufacturing warehouses. – Rainier Allan Ronda, Lawrence Agcaoili