MANILA – The Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to file its comment to petitions challenging its provincial bus ban along EDSA, according to a reliable source from the high court.
MMDA Regulation No. 19-002 prohibited and revoked the issuance of permits to all provincial public utility bus (PUB) terminals and operators along EDSA, in a bid to decongest traffic. It was initially set to be implemented early this month.
Three petitions have so far been filed seeking to void the regulation, questioning the validity and the effectivity of the measure.
AKO-Bicol party-list filed its petition on April 29 while Albay Rep. Joey Salceda filed his on May 27. The Makabayan bloc filed its own petition on June 7.
All petitioners claimed the MMDA does not have the authority to ban provincial buses along EDSA as the agency does not have legislative nor police powers, relying on a 2007 Supreme Court ruling which invalidated former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s similar directive to close bus terminals along EDSA in 2003.
They also questioned whether the provincial bus ban will effectively address traffic congestion.
AKO-Bicol said the regulation will put its constituents from the Bicol region at a disadvantage.
Salceda said the measure is “anti-poor” and against “probinsyanos.”
The Makabayan bloc, for its part, argued that the provincial bus ban did not have scientific bases and will result in “horrible” consequences on cost, convenience, and safety of passengers.
All the petitioners cited different statistics to show that provincial buses constitute only a small portion of vehicles plying EDSA.