Total daytime truck ban? No way, say truckers

Representatives of the petroleum, chemical and construction industries also raise concerns on the proposed truck ban

MANILA, Philippines – Chaotic.

This is what Metro Manila will be once a total daytime truck ban is set in place, trucking companies said in a consultation with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officials on Wednesday, July 3.

The proposed total daytime truck ban patterned after the “Manhattan truck route” will allow trucks along the main roads of Metro Manila from 10 pm to 5 am.

“At 10 pm, all trucks will be on their way to the pier at the same time. We don’t have enough space in the port. If you bring all the trucks there to operate at the same time with the limited space, equipment and manpower—loading and unloading cargo—the alloted seven hours [will not be enough]. Manila will be chaotic,” Teodorico Gervacio of Integrated North Harbor Truckers Association said in Filipino.

Last June 23, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said authorities are considering a total daytime truck ban.

Tolentino implemented a modified truck ban in December last year and extended it until July 6 this year. Under this scheme, all trucks except those carrying perishable goods are banned from passing EDSA from 6 to 10 am, and 5 to 10 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.

But this has not completely eased the traffic situation.

Gas companies, too

Katrina Nicdao of Petron Corp enumerated the drastic effects of a total daytime truck ban on their operations.

Aside from constraints in the delivery of their product, she said the 7 hours allowed for trucks under the proposed scheme will paralyze the airline industry as well. It will require an addition of trucks and manpower, resulting in higher oil prices for consumers.

She added that 70% of gas stations in Metro Manila may run out of gas, which in turn will affect consumers.

Representatives of other groups such as the chemical and construction industries also raised their concerns.

Maria Luwalhati Dorotan, Council Secretariat of the MMDA Office of the Chairman, said they will maintain open communications with these groups to come up with a solution to the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“The [trucking] sector strongly opposes [the total daytime truck ban], but the truckers are willing to sit down [and talk] not just about routes but how to go about that,” she said.

Gervacio said he’s open to an extended modified truck ban, provided that the MMDA will open alternate routes 24/7, and it will be uniform metrowide to avoid confusion on regulation.

He complained about how some local government units have their own truck ban that the MMDA is not aware of.

A suggested truck lane, similar to the bus and motorcycle lanes already implemented, is also a common consensus among truckers.

“What we’re asking for is a truck lane so that we will not be abused, and at the same time, our truck drivers will not be abused,” Gervacio said.

If the different stakeholders fail to come up with a new scheme before the end of the modified truck ban, the MMDA will revert to the regular truck ban of 6 to 9 am and 5 to 9 pm during weekdays. – Truck image from Shutterstock

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