MalacaÑang and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday separately clarified that a total truck ban will not be enforced in Metro Manila (National Capital Region or NCR) during the visit of Pope Francis from January 15 to 19.
In a statement, Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras said all trucks will still be allowed to travel along all roads within Metro Manila, except those that will be closed for papal events.
“Movement of cargo and trucks will be allowed in the regular truck routes during the allowed hours, except routes that will be affected by the events of the pope’s visit,” according to Almendras.
“The routes that will be temporarily closed will be reopened when the events venues have been cleared,” he added.
Almendras issued the statement after it was reported on Tuesday that a five-day truck holiday will be implemented during Pope Francis’ visit.
The Metro Manila Development Authority reportedly had requested the truck ban.
Amendras also clarified that ports of Manila will remain operational during the visit.
“During the holiday, the ports will be operating even if they will not be able to accept outbound cargos as they will continue to unload ships and will load and move out empties to [lessen the number]of empty containers already in the country,” he said.
Almendras assured businessmen, importers and exporters that the five-day papal visit “will not significantly hamper our continuous efforts for the efficient operations of the ports of Manila.”
He asked all stakeholders “to cooperate and implement the agreed plans and actions during the pope’s visit.”
Today, at least three hours before Francis’ arrival, the stretch of Tambo Street will be temporarily closed and, around 12 noon, Roxas Boulevard will also be closed.
Heavy traffic is expected along Dr. A. Santos Avenue both north-bound and south-bound, with vehicles bound for Manila advised to take Macapagal Avenue and those bound for Sucat (Muntinlupa City) and Baclaran (Pasay City) to take Marina Road.
Vehicles bound for Manila going to Cavite province should take Zapote Road via Canaynay or Coastal Road via Kabihasnan
From Villamor Air Base, the papal entourage will pass Andrews Road (west-bound), Domestic Airport Road, Park & Fly Area, Roxas Boulevard (south-bound), Quirino Avenue up to Taft Avenue where the Apostolic Nunciature—the pope’s official residence for the duration of his visit—is located.
Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive today at Villamor Air Base.
He will be in Metro Manila for some events and activities from January 15 to 16.
The pope will then proceed to Leyte province on January 17 to meet with some of the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda and Bohol earthquake.
Meanwhile, the existing truck ban rules for Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), C-5, Commonwealth, Katipunan and other roads shall remain in force during the papal visit, according to Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations.
He clarified that there is no absolute truck ban during the entire papal visit.
Carlos made the clarification to dispel confusion among truckers that there is a five-day total truck ban in the NCR because of the papal visit.
MMDA had been able to convince truck operators to voluntarily stop their operations during the papal visit as heavy traffic is anticipated with the scheduled road closures.
“We only like to ensure the efficient mobility of the Pope and his delegates in our major thoroughfares, especially in Manila where the major events will take place,” Carlos said.