METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino on Tuesday rejected a proposal to ban private vehicles from plying Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) during weekday morning rush.
Tolentino was reacting to the proposal of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member Ariel Inton that he described as “unrealistic.”
Under Inton’s proposal, a private vehicle will not be allowed on EDSA from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. four days a week, but is allowed to pass through other roads.
All vehicles will only be allowed along EDSA from 9 a.m. onward. Inton explained that his proposed traffic scheme for EDSA would give priority to public utility vehicles (PUVs) during the morning rush hours on weekdays.
If implemented, he said at least 80 percent of private vehicles would be removed from the 23.8-kilometer long thoroughfare.
“We have to give priority to the public utility vehicles since private cars can find other roads apart from EDSA,” Inton noted.
Tolentino, however, said Inton’s proposal needs careful study as it would take away the rights of private motorists.
He added that unless the country came up with an effective mass transit system, Inton’s proposal could not be implemented.
The proposal came in the wake of a statement from an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that urged the government to address problems hounding the transport system first to ease the traffic situation in Manila, instead of implementing the four-day workweek scheme.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, said the four-day workweek scheme approved by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) is not the solution to worsening traffic in the nation’s capital.
Pabillo pointed out that the CSC should have studied first how government employees could be more effective under the new work scheme, which he noted would deprive the public of social services.
He questioned the supposed role of government employees in contributing to heavy traffic when many of them do not even own cars.
Under the four-day workweek, the government employees will be working either from Monday to Thursday or from Tuesday to Friday for 10 hours a day, or from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break.
The CSC, however, clarified that the four-day workweek is voluntary on the part of state workers.