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After implementing a bus ban last year which reaped both praise and criticism, the city of Manila is poised to implement a truck ban on Monday, February 10.
In a report report on GMA News' “24 Oras” early evening newscast on Wednesday, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the city will enforce its City Ordinance 7570 or the amended traffic management code, which bans trucks from the streets of Manila from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
“As long as we are within the law we will enforce the law whether they like it or not. The law is the law,” Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The trucks included in the truck ban are cargo trucks, gravel and sand trucks, cement mixers, 8-wheelers and any truck with a gross vehicle weight of at least 4,500 kilograms.
In addition, trucks are only allowed to run on roads that have only two lanes.
Violators will be fined P5,000 and their trucks could be impounded.
Estrada said the Manila City Council had a series of public hearings with truck operators and other associations before the ordinance was passed.
But Alberto Suansing, president of the Integrated Truckers Association of the Philippines said the truck ban is “going to be a logistical nightmare.”
“Malaki ang magiging epekto nito unang una sa cost ng goods na ginagalaw natin sa loob ng Maynila magiging mahal,” Suansing said.
The truck ban will give exemptions to some trucks including those carrying construction materials.
But these trucks will need to get a permit from the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau and the Manila District Traffic and Enforcement Unit to use Manila's roads.
Delivery trucks carrying food, petrolium and government projects will also be exempted but their windshields need to be labeled with the corresponding type of cargo.
“Ang tanging layunin nito ay mahanapan ng karagdagang solusyon ang problema sa trapiko sa Maynila at masaayos ang paggamit ng ating mga kalsada,” Estrada said.
North and South route
There were also port entry and exit truck routes designated by Manila's local government including the Southern truck route passing Roxas blvd. And the Northern truck route passing Road 10 in Tondo.
According to Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, the ordinance seeks aims to speed up the travel time of trucks to and from the port of Manila.
“Ang paniwala po namin mas bibilis sa mga truckers yung kanilang negosyo dahil dadami ang kanilang turn arounds. Kasi nandoon po ang buhay ng negosyo ng logistics. Mas marami silang beses na nakakabalik, mas marami silang puwedeng kitain,” Moreno explained.
But some truckers' associations disputed Moreno's assertion and said their service fees will rise because the truck ban will adversely affect their operations.
“Not less then 50 percent increase will be the increase sa trucking cost,” Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines President Ruperto Bayocot said.
Renato Cruz who iamong the estimated 4,000 to 5,000 truck drivers who travel through in Manila daily also expressed dismay upon hearing news of the truck ban.
“Kung nakaka anim na biyahe kami [ay] tatlong biyahe nalang ang mabibiyahe namin [pag pinatupad ang truck ban]. Malaki yung mababawas, kalahati ng kita namin sa isang linggo. Maaapektuhan yung pamilya namin di po puwede iyon,” Cruz said.
PHL economy impact
According to the Aduana Business Club Inc. (ABCI), the truck ban may also have adverse impact on the Philippine economy if it and because two major ports are involved.
“When the trucks stop, the economy stops. Isipin nalang natin dito since we represent the various stakeholders here. Ano ang magiging total impact nito sa industriya ng pag import at pag export sa buong bansa?” ABCI legal counsel Titus Sangil asked.
Sangkil said the port of Manila and the Manila International Container port are two of the largest hubs accounting for 75 percent of imported raw materials and products flowing through Metro Manila.
“Anong mangyayari sa factory? Tigil ang production. 'Yung mga workers walang hanap buhay. Pag yung ordinance na yan inimplement nila let's say for three months tuloy tuloy [ay] magsasara itong dalawang ports,” ABCI Director Sam Gabisan said.
Some trucker groups have already written to President Benigno Aquino III and other concerned agencies asking for a reconsideration of the Manila truck ban. — Andrei Medina/ELR, GMA News