MMDA Drafts Truck Ban Rules

MANILA, Philippines --- Expect a final decision on Metro Manila's truck ban today.

This, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, who on Saturday decided to finalize the details of the modified truck ban that was supposed to be imposed in the metropolis today, December 3.

''(Modified truck ban) will not be implemented today because we weren't able to come up with the final scheme during the Metro Manila Council (STC) meeting. The truckers groups asked for more time to file their position papers and proposals,'' Tolentino said during the MMDA's weekly radio program.

A final meeting between truck groups and the Metro Manila Commission's (MMC) Special Traffic Committee (STC) headed by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista will instead take place today to iron out the last few kinks in the committee's proposed scheme.

''Definitely it will be finalized tomorrow (Monday). There will be a meeting at the Quezon City Hall. It'll be done tomorrow. We'll have a new truck ban scheme, the details of which I cannot say yet, but this will be finalized,'' stressed Tolentino.

The MMC is the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA. It is composed of the 17 mayors in Metro Manila.

Under the MMDA proposal, a uniform truck ban shall be imposed from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except on Sundays and holidays. This, however, was thumbed down by trucker groups during the MMC-STC meeting last Wednesday, citing various reasons.

The current truck ban, which covers vehicles with a gross capacity of more than 4,000 kilos, is being enforced from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., except on Saturdays and Sundays.

The MMDA wants to implement a modified truck ban as a means of alleviating traffic this holiday season. It was initially targeted to impose a new scheme between December 3 and Deeember 26.

Tolentino, reiterating the sentiments made by Bautista in the previous meeting, cited the need to come up with a fresh scheme as the prevailing truck ban rule is already 20 years old.

''The truck ban being observed is circa 1991. We cannot retain the 1991 truck ban, changes have to be made,'' the MMDA chief said, noting that the traffic situation is very different from what it was two decades ago.

Despite the urgency of the matter, Tolentino said that the MMDA will take into account the legitimate issues raised by trucker organizations in crafting an acceptable truck ban, such as its financial impact to their respective business.