MOTORISTS should stretch their patience a bit more because the opening of 24-hour truck routes is expected to worsen traffic in Metro Manila.
Malacañang on Wednesday appealed for understanding as it admitted that traffic congestion will be expected from the implementation of a 24-hour last-mile truck routes in the next two weeks.
In a news conference, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras announced a “special privilege” for importers who would pull out their cargoes from Manila ports in the next two Sundays and Monday mornings.
This “privilege,” he said, is an all-day access to truck lanes and so-called “last mile” routes, or the next leg that will take cargoes to warehouses even during the truck ban.
“We’re allowing cargo to move, all the government offices and even banks are open on certain hours just to encourage people to move out their cargoes. These cargoes need to come in. So we’ve made a decision [that]it’s time to take some really, a bit more drastic steps,” Almendras added.
He, however, clarified that “only the trucks that will pull out cargoes on Sunday and Monday morning that will be given the special tag and will have this privilege.”
Almendras said this “special promo” for truckers is also in anticipation of the influx of cargoes for the Christmas season.
“The point is, now, we need port space because we have a lot more cargoes coming in during the last three months of the year,” he added.
Truck routes that will be open 24/7 include the Roxas Boulevard and Quirino Avenue truck lanes going to the south and the A. Bonifacio C3 to NLEX truck lanes going to the north.
According to Almendras, the government decided to give some trucks all-day access to resolve the problem of congestion in the Port of Manila.
“That’s only for the next two weeks. Rather than have our economy be affected adversely by this congestion, let’s solve the problem in this two-week period so that things can flow better from hereon. We are going to ask for the indulgence of the motoring public,” he said.
Based on inventory, there is a significant number of Customs-cleared cargoes stacked up in Manila’s gateways. Customs-cleared containers are boxes that already paid the proper duties and taxes to the Bureau of Customs but are yet to pay the cargo-handling fees.
There are also a number of Customs-cleared cargoes with gate pass–boxes that were already paid for both the duties and taxes and the cargo-handling fees–that remain stored in the ports for one reason or another.
Congestion at the Manila ports was partly blamed for the second straight month of decline in the country’s imports in June.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed imports fell 3.6 percent in June to $4.715 billion from P4.889 billion in the same month of 2013. In May, imports fell by 4 percent.