MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are at odds over what they should do about trucks that exacerbate the traffic situation in the metropolis.
MMDA recently extended its modified truck ban originally set to end last July 6 for 6 more months, or until January 15. Under the modified ban, all trucks — except those carrying perishable goods — are not allowed on major roads from 6 to 10 am, and from 5 to 10 pm every day except Sunday and holidays.
The DPWH, on the other hand, prescribed a new truck load limit to preserve roads. The requirement took effect last June 1.
Under the new truck load rules, a maximum of 45,000 kilos will be allowed for the largest 22-wheeler truck-trailer — a 25% reduction from the original 55,000-60,000 allowable gross vehicle weight.
Because of the load restrictions, however, cargo trucks will have to make more frequent trips, thereby worsening traffic jams in Metro Manila and outlying areas, LPG-MA Rep Arnel Ty pointed out.
“We expect a 25% increase in the number of cargo trucks on the road in Metro Manila as well as Central and Northern Luzon, on account of the new load restrictions,” Ty, who is also a member of the House transportation committee, said in a statement.
Total daytime ban
MMDA, for its part, clarified that the total daytime truck ban it is contemplating is still an option. The total daytime truck ban will allow trucks to pass major roads only from 10 pm to 5 am.
The extension of the modified truck ban will give the Special Traffic Committee (STC) of the MMDA’s policy-making body, the Metro Manila Council, more time to further examine the shelved total daytime truck ban. Earlier this month, trucking companies and other stakeholders strongly opposed it.
Tina Velasco from the Office of the Chairman told Rappler in a phone interview on Thursday, July 11, “We will still pursue [the total daytime truck ban]. The 6-month leeway [is to] further strengthen and substantiate [the proposal].”
She said the STC will look into other measures and revisit why stakeholders did not approve of it. Truck regulations, she said, are intended to ease the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.
About 39,543 trucks ply Metro Manila daily, with majority of the number coming from the North Luzon Expressway. Other entry points are the South Luzon Expressway, Rizal, and McArthur Highway.
Defeats the purpose
Velasco said that if firms end up putting more trucks on the road due to the new DPWH policy, it will “defeat the purpose” of the MMDA’s various efforts in addressing the traffic situation in Metro Manila.
“The intention [of the truck ban] is to not add more vehicles on the roads,” she added.
Velasco said MMDA will have to look into the new truck load limit and include it in further studies. – with a report by Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com