MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada personally made sure that bus operators and drivers would comply with the city’s bus rerouting scheme, forcing their lawyer to draft a proposal that sought to address their concerns against the plan.
Sporting a camouflage jacket, Estrada and his vice mayor, Isko Moreno, arrived at the Mabuhay (formerly Welcome) Rotonda to stop provincial buses affected by scheme from entering the city, according to a report on Radyo Inquirer 990Am.
In a dialogue with the bus drivers and operators and their lawyer Ferdinand Topacio later Thursday morning at City Hall, Estrada said it was their “sworn duty to make
the city of Manila peaceful and pleasant”, according to the report.
Moreno said they would not allow the buses to enter the city and would strictly implement the new regulation.
Under the scheme, only bus companies with terminals in Manila were allowed to enter the city.
During the dialogue, the drivers complained about the exorbitant fees imposed by existing terminals in the city.
One operator claimed that they were being asked to pay P120 per entry or exit, or P240 per roundtrip. Another pointed out that the initial price set was P80 per roundtrip.
Moreno berated the bus operators for troubling the local government with their terminal woes.
He said that this was not the problem of the local government anymore and that they have the option to build their own terminal.
Moreno explained that they only facilitated the talks between the operators and the terminal owner.
Radyo Inquirer 990AM reported that after the dialogue, Topacio promised to come up with an alternative proposal or petition paper.
Topacio accompanied bus operators and drivers as they tried to enter the areas where a ban was enforced.
He assured the public that there would be no physical violence but warned authorities against stopping them from entering the city unless there was valid justification.
“This is only a resolution. This regulation violates the franchise [of bus operators]. This is not just regulation. This is prohibition. It disregards the franchise of buses, especially those going to Fairview and Baclaran,” Topacio said in a radio interview.
Some of the buses were reportedly impounded after trying to enter the city.