MANILA - Senate leaders on Wednesday called on the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to halt a new scheme that bans driver-only vehicles on EDSA during rush hour.
The lawmakers made the call on the first day of the dry run of the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic scheme on the main thoroughfare.
Under Senate Resolution No. 845, Senate leaders said the policy that aims to reduce the number of cars along EDSA during rush hour "was set in place without public consultation and due process."
The resolution was authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
"The implementation of a regulation that would allegedly affect 70 percent of the motor vehicles plying and enjoying the use of the Philippines' major thoroughfare without holding a prior public consultation or hearing is violative of the due process of laws enshrined and protected under the Constitution," the resolution read.
The lawmakers called the MMDA's idea as a "band-aid solution" and a "piecemeal measure" that may do more harm than good.
"We are shooing cars away from the main artery to minor roads not wide enough to handle the surge in volume," Recto said.
"[It] could even worsen traffic congestion as it could encourage the proliferation of unauthorized 'for-hire' vehicles or colorum, as shown by the recently scrapped Indonesian model," Drilon said in a statement, citing the reported termination of Indonesia's HOV policy.
The scheme's success is also doubtful "in the absence of safe and reliable alternative means of transportation," Drilon added.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima earlier warned that the MMDA's driver-only policy may also put passengers at risk.
"While carpooling may be commendable, this plan prohibiting driver-only vehicles along EDSA could give rise to paid car jockeys who are more than willing to risk their own safety by getting into the cars of strangers just to earn money," De Lima said in a statement.