No port congestion problem with return of truck ban – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – The truck ban on Metro Manila's major roads begins Tuesday, September 15, but Malacañang said this shouldn't trigger worries of another port congestion problem.
Speaking to reporters after a Senate hearing on worsening metro traffic on Monday, September 14, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the government plans to implement a truck appointment booking system (TABS) to regulate which trucks will be allowed to travel on the roads at specific hours.
The new system, which the government hopes to implement by end-September, will allow brokers to book the schedules of the trucks that will enter the port.
This in effect "removes" the truck ban for vehicles registered on the system and authorized to ply the roads at specific hours, Almendras said.
"When the TABS is implemented, even during peak hours, some trucks will be allowed to travel so long as they're registered on the system. The system will track the truck's RFID and plate number, so we will know whether the truck is authorized to run at this time or not," Almendras said.
The Cabinet secretary sought to assure senators that this will not cause a repeat of last year's port congestion problem, which not only affected shipments but also triggered heavy traffic at the North Luzon Expressway. (READ: Port congestion fixed, Malacañang says)
"We're really a lot more efficient now and the TABS system will make it even more efficient. If you're the importer, you can track when your container was brought to the port, when it's loaded on the truck, and when you can expect it to be delivered to you. All of this is going to be available [on the system]," he said.
APEC, Skyway considerations
Starting Tuesday, trucks will not be allowed to travel on Metro Manila roads from 6 am to 10 am, and from 5 pm to 10 pm everyday, except on Sundays and holidays.
The resolution issued by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) allows trucks to pass through specific northern routes.
On Tuesday, truckers complied with the new policy, choosing to wait and see if the truck ban will once again negatively affect their operations.
Aduana Business Club Inc (ABCI) President Mary Zapata said the truck ban has effectively reduced their schedule of operations from 24 hours to 15 hours.
ABCI, a group of truckers, brokers, and importers, said it will give the government a week before deciding to take action.
“We will support their move, but after a week and nothing happens, I think other efforts should be exerted,” Zapata said.
During Monday's hearing, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino told senators that the truck ban was reinstated as officials begin laying out security preparations for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which the Philippines is hosting this year. The APEC Leaders' Summit is in November.
The truck ban would also help decongest Osmeña Highway, where the construction of the Skyway Stage 3 is now moving into the "advanced" stage, Tolentino added.
The Skyway Stage 3 project will run from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City, connecting the South Luzon Expressway and the North Luzon Expressway.
Once completed, travel time from the north to the south of Metro Manila is expected to be cut from two hours to 20 minutes. (READ: Alternative routes as Skyway construction starts) – Rappler.com