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Salceda asks SC to halt provincial bus ban on EDSA

Albay Representative Joey Salceda on Monday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop a ban on provincial buses and terminals on EDSA, the second known move by Bicolanos to challenge the impending measure.

The lawmaker, who has recently been proclaimed for his second term, sought a temporary restraining order that would enjoin the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from enforcing MMDA Regulation No. 19-002, Series of 2019.

The regulation, set to be fully implemented in June, prohibits or revokes the issuance of business permits to public utility bus terminals and operators and other public utility vehicle terminals and operators along EDSA.

Under the measure, provincial buses coming from the south are expected to end their trips at a terminal in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and one in Parañaque, and those coming from north at a Valenzuela terminal.

The AKO Bicol Party-list also asked the SC for a TRO on the same regulation last April, arguing it was approved without public consultation and without legal and scientific bases.

For its part, Salceda's 15-page petition alleges that by issuing the regulation, MMDA overstepped its legal authority and violated the franchises of the affected provincial public utility buses (PUB) and the lease agreements between bus operators and terminal owners.

"The implementation of the MMDA regulation is utterly oppressive, unfair and violative of all the requisites of a valid exercise of police power," the petition states, adding that the measure will also "cause economic disruption, inconvenience, and added financial burden to ordinary commuters."

Citing 2017 figures, the newly-filed petition states that daily EDSA traffic consists of 3,300 provincial buses, a number lower than 12,000 city buses and 247,000 private vehicles, suggesting that the MMDA should have instead managed other vehicles instead of provincial buses.

"Salceda maintains that prohibiting and revoking permits to all affected PUB terminals along EDSA is anti-poor since most provincial commuters can only pay ordinary and aircon bus fares that are lower than P1,000 and can not afford expensive plane fares," the filing states. —KBK, GMA News