A group of truckers challenged Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada to see for himself traffic conditions in the city after receiving advisory that starting Monday a “one-lane” policy for cargo trucks will be implemented from Bonifacio Avenue in Caloocan City to Manila piers.
“Effective Monday, all trucks should take one lane from Bonifacio Avenue in Caloocan City to C-5, Road 10 up to Port Area in Manila. This will delay our trips and once again trucking traffic will be experienced along North Luzon Expressway from Pampanga exit,” said Abraham Rebao, director of Aduana Business Club, a group of truckers and brokers based in Binondo, Manila.
His group, according to Rebao, is asking Estrada and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to allow them to pass through Roxas Boulevard to lessen gridlock in Port Area.
The truckers said the one-lane policy is a brainchild of Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, who was once assigned as traffic czar by Malacañang.
“The one-lane scheme was the idea of Secretary Almendras and MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos has been tasked to implement it,” Rebao said.
Estrada has bragged that traffic in Manila, particularly in Binondo area, has improved tremendously during his administration.
“As I always say, traffic flow must be improved to enable trade and commerce to flourish in the historic business hub that is Binondo,” the Manila mayor said in a statement, adding that the flow of people and vehicles has improved when all obstructions caused by illegal parking and sidewalk vending, among others, had been removed.
“I have always been very vocal about my desire to restore Manila to its former glory and Manila would not be what it is today without the economic, historic and cultural contributions of Binondo and its outlying areas, which we all affectionately refer to as Chinatown. I have not changed my priorities in this regard. Binondo’s redevelopment will continue to be a flagship program of my administration,” Estrada insisted.
He instructed the Manila Police District Traffic Enforcement Unit (MPD-TEU), the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) and the Manila Barangay Bureau (MBB) to closely coordinate among themselves and ensure effective management of traffic.
The MPD-TEU head, Chief Insp. Olivia Sagaysay, said her men are on the watch of those who parked their cars and those who sell their goods anywhere.
MBB chief Ver Eustaquio said he had deployed foot-patrol village traffic officers, including those on Segway transporter, for faster deployment in case of accidents.
Binondo, reputedly the oldest Chinatown in the world, has over 400 years of legacy as Chinese business hub.
Estrada wants the area to be a tourist destination, just like the Chinatowns in other countries.