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Vice Mayor Moreno irked: We got flak for truck ban; now MMDA wants it back

Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno FILE PHOTO

Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila City government has complained of feeling left out, saying it was not consulted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which announced the other day that it would be implementing a six-month truck ban on Roxas Boulevard starting Wednesday.

“We will definitely be seeking an explanation from the MMDA,” Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

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“We were not consulted about what they intend to do. We only found out about it in the news. Whatever happened to our supposed local autonomy? There are elected officials in Manila who have the obligation to attend to the city’s problems,” he added.

Domagoso, however, stressed that despite the lack of consultation, the city government would not block the MMDA’s new traffic policy.

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“We don’t want to be branded as uncooperative. I believe in road regulation which is the only measure available to us today to address traffic congestion. But the long-term solution would be to develop our road network, with duplicating our roads through overpasses and tunnels as the easiest solution,” he said.

Domagoso noted that the truck ban on Roxas Boulevard was contradictory to the national government’s earlier request for the city government to lift its expanded truck ban.

“I don’t know what they’re trying to address here. But this will certainly cause confusion. Before, they were blaming our truck ban for the port congestion and heavy traffic. Now they want it back,” he said, referring to the Manila ordinance that imposed longer hours during which heavy vehicles were prohibited from using major streets in the city.

It was lifted indefinitely in September by Mayor Joseph Estrada who also agreed to open an express lane for the exclusive use of truckers on Roxas Boulevard to speed up the decongestion of the Manila ports.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino said that he was planning to call up Domagoso in order to explain.

As announced by the MMDA on Monday, trucks and other heavy vehicles with a gross weight of 4,500 kilograms would be banned from plying Roxas Boulevard.

The measure will be in place for six months starting today following its approval by the Metro Manila Council’s Special Traffic Committee. It was recommended by Tolentino in preparation for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis in January and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit which are expected to cause heavy traffic in Manila, including Roxas Boulevard.

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As a concession, however, truckers would be allowed to ply their old routes (South Superhighway-Port Area and vice versa, North Diversion Road-Port Area and vice versa, Marcos Highway-Port Area) to and from Manila ports 24/7 except on Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1.

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TAGS: Francis Tolentino, Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, MMDA, Roxas Boulevard, truck ban, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno
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