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MMDA dares Salceda: File bill targeting private cars

DISCRIMINATORY? A ban on provincial buses on Edsa has been described as anticommuter in a petition pending in the Supreme Court. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — A day after Albay Rep. Joey Salceda asked the Supreme Court to stop the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from banning provincial buses on Edsa, the MMDA official in charge of managing traffic on the busy thoroughfare asked him to come up with a bill targeting private vehicles.

“Fine, you want to stop us. But you’re in Congress. You can enact a law. So why don’t you enact a law that forbids single drivers on all major thoroughfares?” MMDA traffic czar Bong Nebrija said in an interview with the Inquirer.

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Nebrija agreed that the increasing number of private vehicles was the real cause of heavy traffic on Edsa. These account for nearly 80 percent of the daily traffic volume compared to provincial buses which constitute less than three percent.

In August 2018, the MMDA tried to regulate the number of private vehicles on Edsa through the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) policy which forbade driver-only cars during rush hour.

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It was scrapped, however, after the Senate passed a resolution calling for its suspension.

“Say what you will but you can never claim we never did anything about it. We did. You can stop us, kill our policy. But if [the answer is not] a resolution of the Metro Manila Council,  then craft a law,” Nebrija said.

Nebrija’s suggestions

Asked what laws he deemed effective in solving Edsa traffic, Nebrija suggested the revival of the HOV policy, aside from asking the Department of Trade  and Industry to regulate the sale of private vehicles.

He urged the new Congress to pass the “no garage, no car” bill which would prohibit people without garages from buying vehicles.

“These are good, these will help us,” he said, adding:  “Come up with a law and we will implement it.”

On Monday, Salceda filed a petition for a temporary restraining order in the Supreme Court, saying the provincial bus ban on Edsa discriminated against “probinsyanos.”

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Under the ban, all provincial buses would end their trips at terminal hubs in Laguna, Parañaque City or Valenzuela City. Passengers would have to find other means of transportation to get to their destinations in Metro Manila.—With a report from John Marwin Elao

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TAGS: Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, Bong Nebrija
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