Malacañang on driver-only car ban: 'Let's give it a chance'
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang appealed to citizens to be open-minded about the ban on driver-only cars on EDSA being tested by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the new policy is meant to encourage carpooling as a way to decongest the major Metro Manila thoroughfare.
"If there's carpooling, there will be less cars on the road and, of course, the gas prices are rising so we can save on funds. So let's give it a chance," he said on Thursday, August 16, in a Palace news briefing.
Asked if President Rodrigo Duterte himself has had something to say about the controversial traffic rule, Roque said the Chief Executive doesn't "micromanage" when it comes to such issues.
"The President really doesn't micromanage. He just lets the members of his Cabinet implement such programs," said Roque in Filipino.
Duterte's spokesman also denied that the policy discriminates against persons who can't afford drivers.
"It's implemented in many parts of the world. They aren't complaining of discrimination. It's really police power, to lessen the cars on the road and to save on diesel," said Roque.
He said a similar rule – express lanes for cars with more than one passenger – is implemented in the United States.
"In the US, there really are express lanes that are for cars with a minimum of two passengers so that's what the MMDA copied," said Roque.
The Senate demanded that the MMDA suspend the ban's implementation and conduct public consultations first.
Citizens, meanwhile, took to social media to express frustration over what many have called a "dumb" and "impractical" regulation. Some pointed out that the ban may ease EDSA traffic, but could aggravate congestion on other roads.
In 2017, there were 367,738 vehicles that plied EDSA daily, 60% to 70% of which were single-occupancy vehicles. MMDA argue that the driver-only ban will reduce total vehicles in EDSA by 40% during rush hours. – Rappler.com