MANILA - The number coding scheme will remain suspended this year while the government may reimplement the truck ban, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Friday.
Number coding was suspended in the early months of quarantine following the ban on public transport to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The truck ban was lifted for the unhampered movement of essential goods during the pandemic.
"Maybe not yet. Alam naman natin na ang ating public transportation ay hindi pa ganoon ka-stable, hindi full capacity. Number 2, pag nag-coding tayo, I’m expecting loads and loads of requests for exemption," MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia told ANC's Headstart when asked if the number coding scheme will resume in 2021.
(Maybe not yet. We know that our public transportation is not yet stable, not yet in full capacity. Number 2, when we resume the coding, I'm expecting loads and loads of requests for exemption.)
The bus lane in the innermost section of EDSA will also "definitely" stay until next year, as the government prioritizes commuters while the pandemic is ongoing, he said.
Although the bus lane may have caused discomfort to those aboard private vehicles, Garcia said it has eased the travel for commuters along the major thoroughfare. The trip from Monumento to Ayala was cut to just 45 minutes from what used to be 3 hours, he said.
"We really need to give priority sa mga commuter kasi lalo ngayong may pandemic tayo. They cannot stay inside a bus for more than an hour or 2 hours. Yung private naman, ang kasama mo dyan, kasama mo sa bahay, kakilala mo," he said.
(We really need to give priority to the commuters especially now that there's a pandemic. They cannot stay inside a bus for more than an hour or 2. Those in private vehicles share it with people they live with, people they know.)
The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines has said limited mass transportation remains a challenge for businesses trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dapat sana mabilis-bilis pa, marami pa ring problema kaya ‘di natin ma employ 'yung mga taong dapat ma employ,” said ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.
"Hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin nakakapasok yung iba at ayaw pa ring magpapasok ng ibang kumpanya dahil talagang hirap pumasok ang mga tao walang mass transportation,” he said.
Traffic in Metro Manila also worsened as a result of the lack of mass transportation, he said.
“Lahat ng tao, ng kotse lumalabas para makapasok dahil hindi lahat makakagamit ng mass transportation,” he said.
The government is also looking into possibly imposing the truck ban again in some areas, but Garcia said he would have to iron out the details first with the Department of Trade and Industry, since the ban was initially lifted to ease the transport of essential goods while the country is on community quarantine.
"Pinag-iisipan na natin yan na puwede siguro sa EDSA or some other parts...Siguro give us another week. I need to talk also with DTI kasi we need to classify ano yung essential goods," he said.
(We are thinking about that, maybe on EDSA or some other parts...Maybe give us another week. I need to talk also with DTI because we need to classify what are essential goods.)