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Motorists should expect heavier traffic along truck routes in the next two weeks after the government decided to give some trucks all-day access to congested Manila ports.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras announced a "special privilege" for truckers, importers and brokers who would pull out their cargoes from Manila ports in the next two Sundays and Monday mornings.
This "privilege" is an all-day access to truck lanes and so-called "last mile" routes, or the next leg that will take cargoes to warehouses, for the next two weeks.
"Sinadya po natin ito. Binibigyan po natin ng pagkakataon both truckers and importers para ho bago natin i-impose ang new storage rate, everybody has a chance to move the cargo out," Almendras told reporters in Malacañang.
This "special offer" to brokers and importers is also in anticipation of the influx of cargo for the Christmas season, the Cabinet official added.
"The point now is that we need port space because we have a lot more cargo coming in during the last three months of the year," he said.
Almendras appealed for understanding from motorists who will be affected by the increased number of trucks plying Manila roads.
"That's only for the next two weeks. Rather than have our economy affected by this congestion, let's solve the problem in this two-week period so that things can flow better from here on out. We're going to ask for the indulgence of the motoring public," the Cabinet official said.
On Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. announced more government efforts to decongest Manila ports, which would include the shipping out and the imposition of fines on overstaying cargo during the next few weeks.
Some 70,000 containers are currently causing congestion in Manila ports. Up to P320 billion in economic losses are being incurred by the government due to the port congestion, according to The Federation of Philippine Industries. —NB, GMA News