Palace steps into row between LTFRB, mayors, MMDA

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Palace steps into row between LTFRB, mayors, MMDA
Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras will meet with the concerned parties this week to arrive at a 'common ground' that will break the impasse

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has stepped into the row between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said on Tuesday, August 5.

Coloma said Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras will meet this week with all parties concerned to arrive at a “common ground” to break the impasse between the LTFRB and the local chief executives and the MMDA over the board’s “no apprehension policy” on colorum trucks and buses that the latter have vowed to defy.

“There will be a meeting this week led by the Cabinet Secretary to gather the inputs of the different agencies and [local] governments to find a common ground that can become the basis of an acceptable course of action,” Coloma said in Filipino.

Malacañang is appealing to all those involved to “give the highest consideration to the welfare of the people” in settling their differences,” Coloma said.

He also cited the willingness of LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez to settle the matter to the satisfaction of all concerned. Coloma said Ginez had promised the mayors on Monday that he would study the position they have taken on the LTFRB policy.

Break the impasse

Ginez said in an interview with dzBB on Tuesday morning that he too wants to find a “solution” to break his impasse with the Metro Manila mayors, who have directed their respective traffic units to ignore the LTFRB directives.

Saying such policies would exacerbate already bad traffic, mayors are against LTFRB Memorandum Circulars 2014-009 and 2014-010 – which halts traffic law enforcers’ operations against “colorum” public utility buses (PUBs) and allows PUBs to change their routes and pass through the metro’s major roads, respectively.

The LTFRB is also under fire for extending the “no apprehension policy” for trucks-for-hire to allow those with green plates to operate, even as they await their franchise and provisional permits.

“We are appealing to the Metro Manila Council and the MMDA – let’s settle this. We are open to a dialogue with them….We will continue to look for a solution to break the impasse,” Ginez said.

Ginez said he is “saddened” by the position taken by the local chiefs  “to implement their respective traffic ordinances despite the national policy to give a  provisional authority to trucks so that the delivery of goods would not be impeded.”

The LTFRB chief also welcomed the planned legislative inquiries on the LTFRB issuances, as these would give him an opportunity to explain and defend the policies.

“We are more than ready to respond to the investigation and we welcome these inquiries so can explain to the people the basis for these issuances and the reason behind them,” Ginez said.

The MMDA fired the initial salvo against the LTFRB on July 31, when it accused the agency of causing a severe traffic jam on Katipunan Road in Quezon City, because of its no-apprehension policy on trucks-for-hire with green plates. – 

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