TO end the ugly spat between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) over the issue of colorum (illegal) public utility vehicles (PUV), President Benigno Aquino 3rd stepped in and ordered the apprehension of all such vehicles in Metro Manila.
“Upon the directive of President Aquino, members of the Cabinet and the concerned agencies discussed solutions to remedy the worsening traffic jams in Metro Manila and to reduce congestion in the Port of Manila,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a news briefing in Malacanang on Thursday.
First among the President’s directives is the apprehension and charging of fines on colorum PUVs and buses that are “out of line” or traveling beyond what is allowed under their franchise to operate.
The second is rationalization and further study of routes for provincial and city buses entering Metro Manila (National Capital Region or NCR).
“The other measures that were agreed upon in the meeting will be discussed and referred to the mayors of cities and municipalities during a meeting scheduled for next week,” Coloma said.
The LTFRB, MMDA and city mayors have fought over a decision of the franchising agency to suspend implementation of an order that imposes heavier penalties against colorum vehicles. The MMDA and the local executives said the “no apprehension policy” will only result in clogging of major thoroughfares and side streets.
On the congestion at the Port of Manila, Coloma said Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya and Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Juan Santa Ana are about to implement steps they and port users had agreed on.
“It is expected for the situation to be back to normal beginning the 16th of August,” Coloma said. “There is a continuing dialogue with the local government to address the problem of congestion around the port.”
He said trucks that still use green plates can still apply for provisional authority until August 15 but that those “for hire” without such authority will be apprehended beginning August 16.
Green-plated trucks that are not for hire will need to get an exemption from the LTFRB.