The City of Manila is to grant truckers a window of 10am to 3pm to ply their routes, modifying an earlier announced total daytime truck ban on the city’s streets that would start on Feb 24.
A revised ordinance stipulating the additional window has yet to be released by the Manila City Hall but is expected to come out any time today, according to those in the export-import industry who attended a meeting with city officials late Thursday.
The original ordinance allowed truck operation on Manila streets only from 9 pm to 5am.
The truck ban covers eight-wheelers and vehicles with a gross weight of over 4,500 kilograms and more and will be in effect Monday through Saturday but suspended on Sundays and holidays. Trucks carrying perishables and petroleum products, as well as vehicles used for government projects, are exempt.
The Manila City Hall announced the modification to media following the Thursday evening meeting between city and government officials as well as business leaders worried about the adverse effects of the daytime ban on businesses. In attendance were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Councilor Manuel Zarcal, secretary to the mayor Edward Serapio, Estrada’s former trade secretary Jose Pardo, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino and three officials from the export industry.
“The new truck ban will be enforced except that there will be an extension during daytime. It’s a good start. We gave way to the request of the import-export industry and I want to (make it) clear (that it was not) because of the truckers’ threat,” Domagoso said.
Manila also announced it was considering granting exemptions for truckers for an annual fee that may range from P400 to P800 per truck every year, just like it did when it imposed a bus ban last year.
Following the meeting, the presidents of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport), and Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Friday wrote a letter to Estrada formalizing their request for the 10am to 3pm window in addition to the original allotted 9 pm to 5am window for trucks to ply the designated routes in the city.
“This, we believe, is very practical because most employees and students have already gone to work and school by this time,” PCCI president Alfredo Yao, Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr, and ECOP president Edgardo Lacson said in the letter.
“We understand that this arrangement is only temporary for a period of six to eight months whereby the National Government represented by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino have committed to see to it that they will decongest the Port of Manila by encouraging the use of the Ports of Batangas and Subic, and that the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will open up Road 1 and Road 2 behind the DPWH Building, among others, as well as making the Bureau of Customs (BOC) get rid of unnecessary stock piles of containers in their yards.”
The decision to open an additional window for trucks to ply Manila streets is expected to defuse tension between stakeholders and City Hall and could avert a planned trucking holiday on Monday by truck operators protesting the ban.
Philexport’s Ortiz-Luis said they were happy with the extension and Manila was probably right to decongest the ports in the city.
“We’ll be able to make do with the given window,” he said, adding that the truckers would be unreasonable if they were to continue their threat to go on indefinite strike starting Monday to protest the expanded truck ban.
“We are their clients and it’s OK for us, it should be OK with them,” he told reporters.
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