Manila truck ban worries Customs chief
MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla said the expanded truck ban set to be implemented by the Manila city government could adversely affect the operations of not just one but four major cargo holding facilities, including that of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
Saying he was “surprised” to learn about the ban, Sevilla shared a concern earlier raised by the officers of Aduana Business Club Inc., a group of importers, exporters, brokers and truckers, who are opposing the new measure approved Wednesday by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
“Even before the new truck ban, there is a general problem of port congestion,” the BOC chief told reporters on Friday. “If trucks can’t travel at daytime, of course, there would be an impact on the importers.”
Sevilla said the bureau would study the possibility of operating “seven days a week” to ease the resulting choke points at the country’s four major ports, namely Naia, Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, and another seaport in Cebu.
According to the BOC, 800 to 1,000 cargo trucks go in and out of the Port of Manila alone in a span of 12 hours each day.
“We are studying how much additional budget we would need … to solve the congestion,” he said. “It could get worse once the longer ban is implemented.”
Under the new ban, eight-wheel trucks and vehicles with gross weight above 4,500 kilograms will be banned from Manila roads from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven hours longer than the previous restriction.
The ban exempts trucks carrying perishables and petroleum products, as well as vehicles used for government projects. It is lifted on Sundays and holidays.
Estrada, who earlier set the start of the ban on February10, announced on Thursday that he was moving it to Feb. 24 to give affected companies time to adjust their operations.
Sevilla took over the BOC in December last year, succeeding Ruffy Biazon who resigned after being named a respondent in a malversation complaint involving the use of his pork barrel fund when he was still a Muntinlupa City representative.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.