After weeks of discussion and consultation with trucker groups and port operators, the Metro Manila Council special traffic committee has finally decided to drop its plan to implement an expanded truck ban to ease traffic during the holiday season.
Instead, the committee which is headed by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista announced Monday that it would be adding two more hours to the truck ban schedule now in effect.
From Dec. 7 until Jan. 6, trucks will be prohibited from going out in the streets from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. every day except on Sundays and holidays.
However, a total truck ban will be implemented 24/7 on the stretch of Edsa from Magallanes in Makati City up to Balintawak in Quezon City.
Bautista said the council decided to do away with a daytime ban upon hearing from the officials of trucker groups who were not in favor of the proposal that would allow them to go out in the streets only from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Under the present system, trucks are banned from major thoroughfares in Metro Manila from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays.
Earlier, Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines chair Rudy de Ocampo said the total daytime ban would not just affect the trucking industry but also the country’s economy.
His sentiment was echoed by other trucker group leaders who asked the council—the policy-making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)—to reconsider its proposal.
“If trucks will be banned from the streets the whole day, this will result in delivery delays which will affect not only us but also our clients,” De Ocampo said.
He also stressed that the proposed expanded truck ban would not ultimately solve the traffic problem and just result in higher prices of basic commodities, affecting both traders and consumers.
MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, on the other hand, said the implementation of the truck ban was “not meant to deliberately hurt the trucking industry” but was aimed at drafting a comprehensive plan that would hopefully be the “instantaneous” solution to the country’s traffic problem.
Bautista, meanwhile, encouraged representatives of the different trucker groups to help the committee revise the 2007 truck ban ordinance.
“Hopefully by next year, we can talk about giving designated routes and alternative paths for all trucks in Metro Manila,” Bautista said as he added that the council would also incorporate all the suggestions and recommendations coming from them.
The MMDA truck ban covers cargo trucks and heavy vehicles with a gross capacity weight of more than 4,500 kilograms. Only trucks carrying perishable and agricultural cargo are exempted.