Katipunan ‘uprising’: MMDA vs LTFRB
MANILA, Philippines–Motorists in Metro Manila are paying the price for the relaxed crackdown on unauthorized truckers, according to the head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) who took a swipe Thursday at another government agency, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino noted that traffic had gotten worse particularly on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City all the way to C5 Road, mainly because of the LTFRB’s current “No-Apprehension Policy” for trucks that have yet to comply with its franchising regulations.
Katipunan, named after a revolutionary organization that rose up against Spanish colonial rule in the late 19th century, is perennially a heavy-traffic area, the daily crawl endured especially by those going to Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College.
Data released by the MMDA to the media showed that 14,380 trucks passed through Katipunan Avenue on July 25 alone, while there were only 7,959 on the same date last year.
“Our records (show) that the vehicular bottleneck along Katipunan Avenue is an adverse effect (of the LTFRB policy),” Tolentino said. “The current move of the LTFRB will only exacerbate the already worse traffic situation in the metropolis, especially now that trucks are among the major contributors to the traffic gridlock.”
He noted that the reprieve period, earlier observed from June 28 to July 28, was even extended by the LTFRB for another month, or up to Aug. 29.
He said the MMDA and the Metro Manila mayors were still willing to discuss these concerns with the LTFRB.
But in a statement, the LTFRB said the memo it issued extending the no-apprehension period was not tantamount to lifting the MMDA truck ban but a response to “a clamor from the business sector and freight owners” whose operations across the country could suffer.
“Trucks with green plates for hire are already plying the roads even before the release of the LTFRB memo which aims to weed out colorum trucks from the roads,” the statement added.
In an interview, LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez also countered: “To blame the LTRFB memo for the sudden increase, we think, is stretching things too much. These trucks have already been on the road before the LTFRB issued the memo.”
Ginez reiterated that the no-apprehension policy was meant to give truck operators more time to comply, given the crucial services they render in transporting goods from the ports.
He noted that the policy covered trucks with so-called green plates and that the extension would give them time to comply with the board’s franchising regulations so they could again operate on national roads.
It was not the first time that the MMDA and LTFRB appeared out of sync. Last week, the MMDA warned the public of traffic getting heavier on Edsa after the board reportedly allowed provincial buses to again pass through the highway to reach their terminals within the capital.
Tolentino then said he was not consulted about the LTFRB’s move which, according to him, added about 2,000 buses in one stroke to Edsa’s daily traffic volume.
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