Erap to striking truckers: Mahirap na hinahamon ako

By Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2014 03:52 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2014 05:48 AM

MANILA - You can strike all you want but truck ban violators will be apprehended.

This is the message of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to truck drivers on strike after the city government imposed an extended daytime truck ban.

Estrada and Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno said they will no longer talk to truckers' associations after negotiations were already made.

Moreno said they have not deprived anyone of their jobs, they just want to change old habits and instill discipline.

The city of Manila on Monday started the implementation of City Ordinance 8336, which bans the entry of trucks with a gross weight of 4,500 kilograms in the city from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., except on Sundays and holidays.

A revised version of the ordinance also gives truckers a window period of five hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Estrada said truckers must follow the ordinance first. If there are indications that the daytime truck ban is not working or not effective, then that's the time when new negotiations for amendments may be discussed.

A small group of truckers remain at their picket line just outside the gates of the Manila North Harbor.

Estrada said the protests may continue but said he is ready to face any resistance. "Mahirap na hinahamon ako," he said.

Moreno also said expressed no love for the truck divers, saying they are "indulto, perwisyo aksidente."

The mayor sees traffic in the port area to be decongested in six months, as the ports of Batangas and Subic are being tapped as alternate ports.

Estrada said he now has to prioritize his constituents' safety welfare and comfort.

Meantime, all roads to and from the Manila ports remain clear of trucks and container vans, hence, a traffic free Manila so far.