MANILA – Tension marred the first day of the enforcement of the extended truck ban in the city of Manila on Monday.
A confrontation between truck drivers and Manila policemen erupted after the latter tried to tow several trucks in front of the Moriones Gate of the Manila North Harbor.
Some drivers and officials trucker groups were also accosted.
The truckers parked their vehicle in front of the port to protest Manila 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.
The city government later tweaked the ordinance, giving truckers a window period of five hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the window period will only last for six months.
Violators will be slapped with a fine of P5,000 while their vehicles will be towed.
Truck groups, however, said the window period during the day is not enough to accommodate thousands of trucks entering and leaving the city's ports.
Edgardo Aglipay, adviser and chairman emeritus of the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP), said the city's expanded ban has rendered trucks useless.
"Hindi makakapasok ang truck dahil sa maiksi ang window period. Kung hindi mabibigyan ng espasyo, hindi kami makakapag-operate. Gusto man naming mag-byahe, kung hindi kami makapasok, mapupuno ng container ang pier," Aglipay said.
Aglipay said while trucks are still allowed to ply the roads of Manila in the evening, truck operations during the day are more important as most warehouses are open during this period.
"Gusto namin na sumunod, ang problema lang, iyung oras na binigay sa amin, hindi rin kami makakalabas ng city of Manila. Ang mga warehouses hindi rin nagbubukas ng gabi. Ito ay hindi lang problema ng truckers, ito ay problema ng bansa," he said. – with a report from Noel Alamar, dzMM