AROUND 100 truck owners and brokers on Wednesday held a whole day summit in a bid to draft a permanent solution to their conflict with the Manila city hall.
Mary Zapata, president of Aduana Business Club, a Binondo-based group of truckers and brokers, said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was invited to tackle and resolve problems with drivers and helpers.
She added that at the end of the conference they were supposed to come up with a comprehensive proposal to be submitted to Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the City Council under Vice Mayor Isko Moreno.
In their position paper, the haulers aired their complaints against wreckers and traffic officers whom they accused of abusing their authority, forcing them to bleed as much as P10,000 for a single apprehension.
Zapata said an obstruction apprehension costs the hauler P5,000 for the city ordinance ticket, and another P5,000 for the private towing company.
Aduana director Abraham Rebao said around 100 empty trucks are flagged down daily.
Empty trucks are apprehended despite a verbal agreement with Estrada allowing them during the window time from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“When we first met with Mayor Estrada, in just 15 minutes he was able to understand the problem and was able to crop a solution amenable to us. But we were surprised that the opposite is being implemented,” Zapata said.
The allowed window period from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. was supposed to expire last Sunday. But Estrada has yet to announce whether to extend it or revert it back to the dictate of Ordinance 8336 which totally ban trucks from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Truckers also complained that the batteries of towed trucks were robbed at the impounding area in Bonifacio.
Councilor Joel Chua of District 3 urged the truckers to document their complaints and he would personally deliver them to concerned individuals or offices at the city hall.
So far, a daytime window is being implemented in Manila, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the same window being implemented by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority before the passage of Ordinance 8336.
Truckers are demanding the repeal of Ordinance 8336, aside from allowing them to ply the Manila streets 24 hours a day, and allow empty trucks during daytime.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is coming up with a detailed study on the flow of goods from ports to their destinations, its impact to economy during truck ban or truck holiday, and the possible utilization of the ports in Batangas and Subic, Zambales.
Chua said the PPA study will be presented to the city council and will be the main basis in considering amendments or total recall of the ordinance in question.
Chua also disclosed that the Manila city government is dead serious in easing traffic woes, citing a Japan International Cooperation Agency study saying that P2.4 billion is lost because of traffic in Metro Manila alone.
“After the bus sector, we are now solving traffic caused by trucking. Soon we will deal with the vehicles with three wheels like tricycle and pedicab, then well touch the jeepneys and then the FX vans,” the councilor said.
Chua said the city government is now putting up a highly modernized command center where all roads and streets in Manila are closely monitored, including streets passing the Malacañang Palace.
Traffic in Manila greatly improved after colorum buses were not allowed entry, aside from requiring bus companies to limit their units inside their terminals. City hall also designated bus stops for loading and unloading.
Although traffic improved further after the truckers’ self-imposed truck holidays, exporters, importers, the ports operators, ship owners and business chambers complained that the movement of goods suffered, which could redound to consumer goods increases and the flight of investors, especially those located in economic zones.
The current truck ban has also reduced the turn-around of trucks, especially the apprehension of empty trucks during the daytime window.
Chua said the city council is willing to hear and study the recommendations of the truckers even the possible repeal of Ordinance 8336.