Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Thursday ordered the deferment of the city’s new truck ban to February 24 to avoid legal issues.
Councilor Joel Chua said that in a meeting with Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and representatives from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the national government on Wednesday, it was agreed to postpone the implementation of City Ordinance 8336, which prohibits 8-wheeler trucks from plying the city streets from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. The new law sets aside MMDA’s unified truck ban, which is from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The ban was to have been in effect on Monday, February 10, but Chua said to do so will go against the Civil Code requirement that a law takes effect only after 15 days of publication in a national newspaper.
The ordinance was approved on third reading last Wednesday after which Estrada announced its implementation on February 10.
Before the passage of the ordinance, heavy trucks were allowed only in Manila from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Chua said the new truck ban aims to decongest traffic in the city. Citing a study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), he said businesses were losing P2.4-billion daily because of heavy traffic in Metro Manila alone.
He added that the primary consideration of the new law is the general welfare, convenience and comfort of the city residents.
Truck owners are opposing the new ban, and plan to contest it in court.
“We are asking the city government to recall the ordinance on truck ban because it will result to more loses to businessmen, both export and import. Instead, they should get rid of the daytime truck ban and allow the heavy trucks 24-hours a day,” Abraham Rebao, director of Aduana Business Club, told a forum at Aloha Hotel on Thursday.
Rebao said 4,000 container trucks pass through Manila daily, but ports in Manila could only accommodate 800 heavy vehicles in their compounds, citing procedural red tape, including the time consumed in docking ships.
He said members of Aduana Business Club, including big brokers namely Asian Terminal Inc. and International Container Terminal Services, will meet on Monday to discuss how best to persuade City Hall not to carry out the daytime truck ban.
Rey Soliman, the club’s executive vice president, said that they were invited by the city council during public hearings, but the council failed to call for technical group meetings to discuss the details and the impact of the ban not only to haulers but to operators of Manila ports as well.
Soliman said City Hall also failed to conduct a dry run of the ban to anticipate problems with its implementation.
Chua blamed the truck ban for the exit of garment factories from the country. “Investors transferred to Vietnam and Bangladesh because it took time for materials to reach their factory from the ports,” he said.
Rebao said their group sent their position paper to MMDA, the Department of Interior and Local Government and Malacañang, citing as reasons they oppose the truck ban the possibility of increase in prices of goods, labor reduction, and curtailed profit.
He said the ban would just worsen traffic since trucks have no choice but to park along the streets during the ban period.
Jaime R. Pilapil