Provincial bus ban on Edsa to push through but only ‘voluntarily’
MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Tuesday said the provincial bus ban along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) would push through, but only for bus operations who would volunteer to join.
MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said he would not order that bus operators join the dry run, but bus operators who initially volunteered to participate could still do so.
“If you’re going to ask me if we will push through with the dry run, ang stand lang natin, ‘yung pinanghahawakan natin dito, last week before ko ma-release itong injunction, nagkaroon ng pagpupulong ang operators. Unanimously, nag-agree sila na magd-dry run tayo. Meaning voluntarily nagsalita sila na they will support the dry run para makita kung mayroong pagkukulang sa ating gagawing banning ng provincial bus terminal,” Garcia said in a press briefing at the MMDA office in Makati.
Garcia said that no penalties will be imposed against bus operators who would not be joining the dry run, but he added that he is holding onto the words of those who volunteered to participate.
“Mula nung meeting na yun—that was last week until today—walang communication with operators but ang pinanghahawakan ko rito ay yung um-oo sila sakin. Meaning if ever they voluntarily nagsabi they want to try and test itong dry run natin, well good. Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila kasi nga hindi natin makikita if this is effective without testing the policy,” Garcia said.
The dry run of the provincial bus ban along Edsa was supposedly scheduled for Wednesday, but the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 223 issued a preliminary injunction against a memorandum circular issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that amends provincial bus routes and prohibits provincial buses from using Edsa.
The LTFRB memo served as the basis for MMDA in implementing the provincial bus ban.
This caused confusion among operators and commuters alike whether the dry run would push through.
Asked to clarify their vague pronouncement despite the issuance of the injunction, Garcia said: “Di ko sila pinasusunod. Hindi ako nag-order. Ang sinasabi ko, nag-boluntaryo kang dumaan dyan, nakaready kami, pero di ko kayo inuutusan na dumaan diyan. It’s a different thing.”
“Ayoko naman ma-contempt. Inutusan na akong ‘wag gawin ang isang bagay ay may nag-volunteer na gawin na ibang party, sila pa nagdemanda, how can I say no?” Garcia added.
Garcia said traffic enforcers would still be deployed to assist those who would be voluntarily joining the dry run.
“Ang samin lang, tomorrow it’s another business work, tomorrow is another work day for us. If ever may gustong testing-in, nakabukas ang mga interim na yan. Nandyan na yan. Anyone can pass, anyone can stop if they want to try. Pera hindi ko sila pinipigilan na hum into dyan,” Garcia said.
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