MANILA (UPDATED) - A massive traffic jam affected the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) on Friday, and no government unit or agency took the blame for the fiasco.
A post on the official Twitter page of NLEx said the massive traffic build-up was caused by the poor movement of vehicles along A. Bonifacio Avenue. It initially attributed the heavy traffic to the "one-truck lane policy" on the said road for the gridlock.
However, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino pointed out that no one-truck lane policy was being implemented on A. Bonifacio Avenue.
He said the one-truck lane is only being implemented along C-5 Road.
"MMDA's one truck lane policy is only applicable along C-5. These are the trucks going to enter the gates of the Philippine Ports Authority, so the Port of Manila has some problems in so far as the processing of trucks entering the ports. The queue has reached that long," Tolentino told ANC.
"The problem lies in the congested cargoes inside Port of Manila. It has nothing to do with any truck policy. Some are barking on the wrong tree."
Upon exiting NLEx, trucks go to A. Bonifacio Avenue to reach C-3 Road. C-3 Road is connected to Road-10 (R-10), one of the primary roads leading to Manila's ports.
Tolentino explained that there is a portion of C-3 Road that is only "one lane passable."
He also appealed to NLEx management to withdraw its claim that a one-truck lane policy is causing the traffic jam.
PALACE BLAMES LGU
The Palace, meanwhile, put the blame on the government of Caloocan for the gridlock.
Speaking to reporters, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the national government discovered just today that Caloocan altered several routes in the city, noting that no new truck policy was implemented in the affected roads.
"Nabigla kami over the past few days kung bakit biglang sumikip. I have been checking iyung volume of trucks na lumalabas sa pier - it is the same," Almendras said.
"Ngayong umaga, nalaman natin na may ginawang re-routing sa Calooocan, we have elevated this to Chairman Tolentino, na kung pwede ibalik natin ang mga ruta na nandoon dati... Some roads were suddenly closed, some truck roads were diverted. They imposed a single lane."
Almendras explained that a single "express lane" along Roxas Boulevard has been there since April.
"Iyung single lane was the commitment for the express lanes na 24/7. Pero during hours na walang truck ban, we are back to the original na walang single lane," he said.
MOTORISTS, PASSENGERS IRKED
Due to the gridlock, many vehicles got stuck on NLEx's southbound lane for hours. The tail-end of the traffic build-up reached Valenzuela Interchange.
Some passengers also got stranded.
Chris Saruca, officer-in-charge of the MMDA Traffic Discipline Office, said more traffic enforcers were deployed to ensure better flow of vehicles in the affected roads.
Charlie Nosares of the MMDA MetroBase, meanwhile, advised motorists exiting NLEx to use Mindanao Avenue, Valenzuela going to MacArthur Highway, or Malinta Exit going to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to avoid traffic.
Some irate motorists and passengers, meanwhile, took to Twitter to air their frustration over the massive gridlock. Some also called for a long-term solution to the traffic situation.
As of 4 p.m., the "NLEX" was the 8th trending topic in the Philippines on Twitter