MANILA (UPDATE) – Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Monday asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the enforcement of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) provincial bus terminal ban along EDSA set to be implemented next month.
In 12-page petition, Salceda cited an urgent need to stop an “impending economic disruption” that will result from the implementation of MMDA Regulation No. 19-002, series of 2019, which prohibited and revoked the issuance of permits to all provincial public utility bus (PUB) terminals and operators along EDSA.
“The said MMDA issuance will result in the closure of provincial bus terminals located along EDSA and force thousands of commuters from the provinces to disembark in a designated terminal outside Metro Manila as endpoint resulting in so much inconvenience and added economic cost to the provincial commuters, mostly composed of poor travelers,” he said in the petition.
Salceda said he filed the petition as a taxpayer, affected passenger and representative of his constituents from the 2nd district of Albay who will be affected by the ban.
“[W]hy pick on our probinsyanos to solve Metro Manila traffic?,” he asked, citing statistics to disprove MMDA’s theory that the provincial bus terminal ban along EDSA will solve the traffic problem.
He said there are only 4,000 provincial buses going to and from Metro Manila compared to 2.8 million cars in the National Capital Region.
On a daily basis, he said, only 3,300 provincial buses pass through EDSA compared to 12,000 city buses and more than 247,000 private vehicles, based on estimated 2017 figures from the MMDA.
Instead of solving the problem, Salceda said the ban will create more problems because instead of a bus carrying 50 passengers, a car can only carry 5, while a jeepney can only accommodate 12 persons. He said banning 3,000 provincial buses will result in 15,000 more cars traveling along EDSA.
“[T]here is no correlation between the original routes of the affected PUBs and the congestion of traffic in EDSA since the traffic congestion in EDSA during office hours are caused by private vehicles and city public buses, not by the affected PUBs,” he said, adding that provincial buses do not drop off and pick up passengers along EDSA.
He called the measure “anti-poor” since it will affect most provincial commuters who can only pay ordinary and air-conditioned bus fares that are lower than P1,000.00 and cannot afford expensive plane fares.
“Napakalaking pahirap po, doble-gastos dahil po yung pinanukala na terminal na gawin po sa Sta. Rosa (Laguna) ay 38.7 kilometers (away) so kung taga-Fairview ka, talagang makikipagsapalaran ka papuntang Sta. Rosa,” Salceda told the media shortly after filing the petition.
Salceda also argued, the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) do not have police or legislative powers to impose the ban as only Congress, and not even the President, can enact a law banning provincial bus terminals on EDSA.
He cited an SC decision limiting the MMDA’s powers to that of a “development authority,” solely for laying down policies and coordination with national government agencies, NGOs and the private sector.
The MMDA regulation said the policy was a result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to close all bus terminals along EDSA.
Salceda added the ban will curtail the bus operators’ existing franchise issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and violate their lease agreements with the terminal owners.
Aside from the MMDA, the MMC was also named as respondent in the petition.
Last month, party-list group AKO Bicol also filed a petition before the SC to stop the implementation of MMDA’s EDSA provincial bus terminal ban.