Monday, January 25, 2021
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Truckers decry truck ban, fear further blow to struggling economy

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines is asking the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to reconsider its decision to re-impose the truck ban, saying it does not solve the heavy traffic
• The Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations said solving the traffic situation “with token and old solutions compromises the nation’s economy”
• CTAP is requesting the provision of a 24/7 single truck lane on major strategic routes except EDSA

Trucking groups are asking the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to reconsider its decision to re-implement the truck ban, saying it does not address the heavy traffic in the metropolis.

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP), in a position paper to MMDA dated December 14, said implementing the truck ban on major thoroughfares “is not the solution to the problem but [adds] more injury to our struggling national economy punctured by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

READ: Metro Manila truck ban back starting Dec 14

MMDA on December 14 reinstated the truck ban on major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, including a total truck ban on Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue from Magallanes to North Avenue. This was made upon the request of Metro Manila mayors to alleviate heavy traffic in the metropolis this holiday season.

The truck ban had been suspended last March to allow the smooth flow of goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO) vice president Rina Papa said that while not surprised the truck ban was re-implemented during the Christmas season, her group had hoped the “formula solution to old problems would be rethought, after all old formulae have long been proven to fail in the past.”

Papa noted that EDSA has had a truck ban since 1994, and the regulation “is one of the worst when it comes to traffic jams, pre-, during and post-strict lockdown policies.”

She said truckers, which had operated during the lockdown even “with our noses barely above water” just to contribute to government’s efforts to address pandemic-related concerns such as food security, were saddened with the policy’s reimplementation.

“Now that the country is being ushered back to recovery, the opportunity to recover is being taken away from us only because the traffic situation is not given more thoughts [or] being afforded a conscientious study it deserves,” Papa said.

“We reiterate that solving the traffic situation with token and old solutions compromises the nation’s economy. And at this time when we are all yet to recover, this is very crucial,” she added.

CTAP said the truck ban will result in transport gridlock for cargoes, and this will affect the country’s economy.

It added that the truck ban will “thwart not only the effort of the national government to promote sustainable mobility of container cargoes for the betterment of our national economy but will also paralyze the operation of various companies and container yard operators” in Metro Manila.

The group noted that more economic activity happens and the volume of import and export goods drastically increases during the Christmas season. Thus, more road network from North Luzon area and South Luzon area to the Port of Manila “is imperatively needed due to expected heavy volume of cargo that would exit and enter the port premises,” CTAP said.

It noted that the trucking industry constitutes “the very lifeblood of the economy for it is the indispensable partner of the government for the country’s economic development,” so “it is just proper and necessary that TH (trucks for hire) must be given priority for the use of the government major roads and highways…”

The group pointed out that trucks utilize only a single lane on major thoroughfares, and prohibiting their passage will have minimal effect on the traffic problem.

CTAP also said private cars have “sufficient and adequate” alternate routes as compared to trucks, while public utility vehicles can use secondary roads—which trucks cannot use—to alleviate the traffic gridlock in the metropolis.

Moreover, the truck ban counters the effectiveness of the Terminal Appointment Bookings System (TABS) being implemented at international port terminals in Manila.

Instead of a truck ban, CTAP is requesting a 24/7 single truck lane to and from north and south Luzon and on major strategic routes in Metro Manila except EDSA to “eventually minimize the volume and presence” of trucks on major roads in Metro Manila.

The group also requested a consultation with MMDA to formulate guidelines for the proposed 24/7 single truck lane “to facilitate the continuous and sustainable movement of container cargoes within Metro Manila.” – Roumina Pablo

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