MANILA - After many days of battling it out with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) got Malacañang's nod to proceed with the apprehension of colorum trucks and buses plying the streets of Metro Manila.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) announced that the decision was made after a meeting inside Malacañang.
The meeting was attended by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez and Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Juan Sta. Ana.
"Ang mga sumusunod na hakbang ay napagkasunduan hinggil sa operasyon ng mga pampasaherong bus:
"Una, paghuli at pagpapamulta sa mga kolorum at out-of-line na bus sa EDSA at sa buong Metro Manila; at,
"ikalawa, patuloy na pag-rationalize batay sa masusing pag-aaral ng mga ruta ng provincial at city buses na bumibiyahe sa Metro Manila na isinasagawa ng LTFRB sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa MMDA," said Coloma.
This consensus was reached after the meeting between agencies that was called on the directive of President Benigno Aquino III.
The consensus virtually clamped down LTFRB Memorandum Circulars 2014-009 and 2014-010, which stop traffic law enforcers' operations against colorum public utility buses (PUBs) and allow PUBs to change their routes and pass through the metro's major roads, respectively.
The LTFRB also drew the ire of metro mayors for extending the no apprehension policy for trucks-for-hire to allow those with green plates to operate, even as they await their franchise and provisional permits.
"Ang mga may-ari ng trak na gumagamit ng green plate ay maaari pang mag-apply para sa provisional authority (PA) hanggang ika-15 ng Agosto 2014. Simula sa ika-16 ng Agosto 2014, ang mga trucks-for-hire na walang provisional authority ay huhulihin at pagmumultahin," Coloma said.
Coloma explained that green-plated trucks privately owned by individuals for their own business or those that are labeled "not-for-hire" will be required to apply for exemption from LTFRB.
The exemption, which has a validity of three years and is renewable, will be issued for free until the next three months. That's additional task for the LTFRB and they don't get to charge truck owners for service fees for the exemption.
The LTFRB's Circular is also inutile now on the truck ban. Malacañang said the exemption does not cover truck ban.
"Ang pagkakaloob ng PA o exemption ng mga green-plated ay hindi nangangahulugan na sila ay hindi na sakop ng truck ban at mga umiiral na batas trapiko. Kailangan pa rin po silang sumunod sa mga probisyon ng truck ban at ng mga batas trapiko," said Coloma.
Effectively, the consensus reached in the Malacañang meeting took the side of the Manila City government which imposed a truck ban through the powers of a city ordinance.
Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, the traffic czar of the City of Manila, has been very vocal in the past few days about his opposition to the LTFRB Circular.
"Nananawagan ang pamahalaan sa lahat ng port users na magsagawa ng regular na operasyon kahit na araw ng Linggo upang higit na mapabilis ang paglalabas ng mga kargamento mula sa pantalan ng Maynila. Patuloy ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga lokal na pamahalaan upang maibsan ang suliranin ng congestion sa Port of Manila at sa mga lansangan," Coloma said.
He said Domingo, Abaya and Sta. Ana have reported in the meeting that steps are being done to ensure the implementation of the agreements reached between port users.
Malacañang is expecting resumption of normal port operations by August 16.
Another meeting is set next week where the consensus made in the Malacañang meeting will be discussed and consulted with metro mayors.