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Aquino blames Erap’s truck ban for port congestion in Manila


President Benigno Aquino III on Monday blamed Manila's ordinance enforcing a daytime truck ban as the primary cause of the port congestion in the city's ports.
 
"It’s a city ordinance that perhaps, nobody envisioned how bad this would amount to," the President said in an interview in Davao City.

Aquino said the number of cargoes being pulled out of Manila ports dropped to as low as 2,000 containers from the normal 5,000 containers per day when the truck ban was enforced.
 
"'Yung hindi mailabas, naipon doon, dumating ‘yung punto wala nang mapaglagyan ‘nung mga iba pang containers na dumarating. Na-congest na rin natin ‘yung mga ports that support us like Singapore and Kaohsiung," he said. 
 
The President added that importers and brokers also contributed to the problem by "turning government ports into warehouses."
 
The Manila City government in February approved Ordinance 8366, which banned trucks from plying the city's roads from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, except on Sundays and holidays. 

Aquino, nonetheless, said that city government had been helping solve the problem.
 
"We’d like to emphasize that all of the intermediate steps that we asked the Manila City Hall to do, they did," Aquino said.

Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada in August defended Manila's daytime truck ban amid protests and allegations that it was to blame for the congestion in the city's ports. He said the ban wouldn't be lifted.
 
“Hindi i-l-ilift, wala naman kasing dahilan na i-lift. Gusto nila container vans na ang laki at ang haba, papayagan? They cause traffic,” Estrada said in a chance interview then.

Aquino said the government was "on track" in addressing Manila port congestion to prevent its adverse effects on the Philippine economy.
 

The President said his administration was exerting all efforts to decongest Manila ports, in anticipation of the influx of cargo for the Christmas season.
 
"Everything and anything that has been thought of that can address these congestion problems is being done," the President said.
 
He particularly cited as example the government's decision to impose fines and to ship out overstaying cargoes.
 
"We were clearly on track to bring the situation to normal levels. Ang problema lang natin September is the start of the buildup for the Christmas season. So may bulusok, ano, na dadami na naman ito," Aquino said.
 
Tens and thousands of 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. 
 
A Cabinet cluster has come up with several measures to address the problem, including one allowing some trackers to have all-day to Manila ports. —NB/GMA News
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