The modified truck ban goes into effect in Manila today as truckers threatened to stop moving goods to and from the city’s port district.
The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines said on Sunday it will push through with a “truck holiday” to protest the ban.
The group said at least 12,000 trucks will join the protest to pressure City Hall to scrap the ban and allow them to resume operating in the city for 15 hours.
They said limiting their operations will impact on their businesses.
The Aduana Business Club, another group of truck owners and brokers, will meet on Monday to decide on whether to join the holiday.
The city council had passed an ordinance banning heavy trucks from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Last week, Mayor Joseph Estrada eased the ban and allowed trucks to enter Manila from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Estrada made the decision after meeting with representatives from Philippine Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Commission on Human Rights and neighboring local governments.
A 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. metro-wide truck ban already exists, enforced by the MMDA.
On Sunday MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino appealed to truckers to heed to the win-win solution it offered to resolve their dispute with Manila City Hall over the ban.
“The city of Manila has already given truckers an additional five hours for six months. I think this is a win-win solution because from the original 8, the window hour was lengthened to 13,” Tolentino said.
The truckers “ should understand that their request was granted. The city of Manila has already given them [truckers]big concession. So they should just cooperate,” he added.
The truckers want no less than a 15-hour operating period.
“Their first proposed window hours was rejected, I don’t what was the reason behind it. But it seemed that we represented them [truckers]in our meeting with Estrada because he granted our proposal,” he added.
Malacañang has expressed concern about the looming showdown over the ban.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said a major crisis in Manila could be avoided through dialogue.
“It is better to resolve the issue through dialogue,” he said.
Agencies such as the MMDA, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Philippine Ports Authority were talking with the truckers and operators to resolve the issue, Coloma said.
“One of the points of attention is the interest of the truckers and exporters. At a time the economy is doing well, we should help exporters, importers and truckers move their goods, especially since infrastructure projects like Skyway 3 are also in the works,” he added.
Coloma said representatives from government agencies will meet again Monday “to discuss the details of the truck ban. We also want the various sectors concerned to be on the same page.”
WITH REPORT FROM CATHERINE S. VALENTE