MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday, May 29, said that the planned closure of provincial bus terminals along EDSA on June 1will not yet be implemented.
In a text message to Rappler, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said that they have not forwarded a request to the concerned local governments to close down the provincial bus terminals in their areas.
But the plan will not be shelved.
“Wala pa po kami request to close (We haven’t requested for closure)… But we will still push through with the plan,” Garcia told Rappler.
The Metro Manila Council, the governing and lawmaking body of the MMDA composed of the capital region’s mayors, issued MMDA Regulation 19-002 which revoked the business permits of all public utility bus terminals along EDSA. It also prohibits the issuance of new permits.
The MMDA is eyeing to close 46 bus terminals along EDSA.
Asked for the target date of implementation, Garcia said there was none yet as they were still “waiting for the policy and requirements” from the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Once the requirements and policies needed from transportation agencies are completed, that is when MMDA can request for local governments to implement the closure of the terminals.
MMDA earlier said that the closure will start by June, after the culmination of a dry run conducted from April until the first week of May.
On top of the closure, the MMDA also implements a strict “No Loading and Unloading” policy for provincial buses along EDSA.
Bicol lawmakers have filed petitions before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the policy, arguing that it is “utterly oppressive and unfair.”
Albay 2nd district Representative Joey Salceda said the bus ban will only cause “great economic disruption, inconvenience, expenses and damages to multitudes of commuters to and from as far as the Visayas and the Bicol region.”
In a separate petition, AKO Bicol party said that the regulation is “unconstitutional,” saying that MMDA does not have legislative power.
In a message to reporters, EDSA traffic manager Bong Nebrija said on Tuesday, May 28, that in the absence of a resolution from the High Court, they will push through with the policy in question.
“This is part of our democratic process and we respect the filing of the petition of Congressman Salceda. We will wait for our copy being named as respondent in the said petition and we will let our legal team draft and file the rebuttal,” Nebrija said.
“In the absence of any resolution to all the petitions filed at the SC we will continue with our preparation and public information about the policy being questioned,” he added.
According to the MMDA, there are 12,000 passenger buses plying in the metro, of which 8,000 are provincial buses while the others are city buses.
The MMDA regulation orders provincial buses to end their trips at the interim bus terminals in Valenzuela City, pending the construction of a government terminal in the city.
For those coming from the South, MMDA said bus operators should use the terminal in Sta Rosa, Laguna, as well as the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange which is on partial operation. (READ: Cavite Governor Remulla wants PITX operations suspended)– Rappler.com