INDIVIDUALS, groups and organizations opposing the controversial EDSA Provincial Bus Ban earned the support of Senator Bong Revilla after the veteran legislator said that the move will not resolve grueling traffic affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers.
The Senate Committee on Public Services hearing was attended by Transportation Undersecretary Mark de Leon, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Danilo Lim, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Martin Delgra, Land Transportation Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvantee, Task Force EDSA Emmanuel Tabuena, PNP-Highway Patrol Group Legal Chief Darwin Paz and representatives from public and private sectors, and major transport and commuters groups.
Based on a data by MMDA, the standard speed for vehicles traversing EDSA is 60 kph, but at present, vehicles are limited to 19 kph which led to their decision to implement a provincial bus ban.
MMDA was scheduled to conduct a dry-run for the bus ban but it was suspended after the Quezon City RTC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) last July 31 which caused massive traffic jam on EDSA.
During the hearing, other members of Congress pointed out that the bus ban is a form of discrimination against commuters from provinces.
“Kasi nga naman, kung pupunta ka ng Manila at galing ka ng Bicol o Tuguegarao isang sakay lang, bitibit mo ang bagahe mo. Doon sa proposal na bus ban—magiging dalawang sakay na, dagdag pamasahe na, hassle pa at kawawa ang mga senior citizens,” Revilla said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said the MMDA should put this plan in the freezer—if not junk it altogether—until after the courts have taken final action on this controversial policy ostensibly designed to ease traffic on the national capital’s chief highway.
Villafuerte, who filed House Resolution (HR) No. 165 seeking a congressional inquiry into MMDA Regulation Number 19-002, said the Chamber should go ahead with this proposed House probe in the hope that lawmakers could eventually craft new legislation that would help authorities solve the worsening traffic congestion plaguing EDSA and the rest of Metro Manila.