No more port congestion in Manila mid-August?
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured the public on Thursday, August 7, that the congestion at major ports in Metro Manila would ease by Saturday, August 16.
According to Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, trucks-for-hire still using green plates are allowed to operate while in the process of applying for provisional authority with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) until Friday, August 15.
“Effective August 16 … trucks without provisional authority will be apprehended and fined. Meanwhile, not-for-hire trucks owned by private individuals or organizations for their own use may apply for exemption from the (provisional authority) requirement,” Coloma said.
The exemption will be effective for 3 years and should be renewed. For the next 3 months, the government shall give the exemption for free.
“Despite the issuance of (provisional authority) or exemption, green-plated trucks will continue to be covered by the existing truck ban and other traffic regulations,” Coloma said.
This should clarify the confusion arising from the circular issued by the LTFRB board on June 28. The “no-apprehension” policy allows trucks-for-hire more time to apply for provisional authority.
A serious problem
Concerned about the adverse impact of the congestion at two of the major ports in Metro Manila, the Senate is set to conduct an inquiry aimed at finding solutions to what could be a potential crisis.
Senators Francis Escudero and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV filed separate resolutions calling for the investigation into the port congestion at the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
The city of Manila imposed a daytime truck ban to address the traffic jams in the city. After this was implemented, empty container vans owned by shipping lines occupied 50% of the container yards, which caused the congestion at the ports.
This led to more problems because many local and international vessels were unable to dock and unload their cargoes, prompting major shipping lines to boycott the city ports due to lack of berthing spaces.
Coloma said there would be no more unusual delays in the movement of cargoes because they are addressing logistics issues, including possible use of other ports and other solutions.
Coloma added the coordination and cooperation of stakeholders would continue to avert any effects of the problem on the economy, including the spike in inflation because of disruptions in the supply chain.
“There is a greater national interest that must be reconciled with the interest of the local constituency, that is why there is very close coordination between the national government and the local government units,” Coloma stressed.
Present during the meeting with the President were Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya Jr., LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and other officials concerned.
Abaya, Domingo and Philippine Ports Authority general manager Juan Sta. Ana reported that the steps agreed upon by the port users were already being implemented and should bring back the ports’ operations to normal by middle of the month.
“The government is calling on all port users to conduct regular operations even on Sundays to speed up the unloading of cargo from the ports of Manila,” Coloma said.
Coloma said there was no discussion on the lifting of truck ban in certain areas but only to ensure efficiency of movement in and out of the ports of Metro Manila.
Purisima and Domingo were closely working with the different chambers of commerce and industry associations on the issue to come up with concrete solutions, Coloma added.
Crackdown on colorum buses
Also, the Palace backs the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in its crackdown on colorum buses plying the metropolis, Coloma said.
On colorum and out-of-line buses along EDSA and the rest of Metro Manila, the apprehensions and imposition of penalties would continue, while the routes for provincial buses plying in the metropolis would be rationalized by the LTFRB and the MMDA, Coloma said.
The other measures would have to be consulted with the Metro Manila mayors in a meeting set next week, Coloma said. – Rappler.com