Senate opposes ban on ‘driver-only’ vehicles on EDSA

Published August 15, 2018, 4:11 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senators are up in arms against the Meto Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) policies against single-passenger vehicles traversing EDSA.

A MMDA traffic enforcer jots down the plate number of violators of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic scheme during its dry run along EDSA-Guadalupe going to Makati City. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)
A MMDA traffic enforcer jots down the plate number of violators of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic scheme during its dry run along EDSA-Guadalupe going to Makati City.
(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

On Wednesday, Senate Resolution No. 845 was adopted in the Upper Chamber “strongly urging” the MMC and MMDA to reconsider their plan to ban “driver-only” vehicles in EDSA during rush hours and recall the order regarding the so-called high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. The measure was shortly approved after it was filed on the same day.

Senators, in adopting the measure, have united in asking the MMC and the MMDA to “conduct public consultations and further study the ‘driver-only’ ban, and provide for real solutions to Metro Manila traffic congestions.”

They also wanted the MMC to recall the MMDA Regulation No. 18-005 “Establishing the Expanded HOV Lanes in EDSA,” and for MMDA to suspend its implementation.

No less than Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon signed the resolution.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 845, the Senate officials noted that the MMDA’s HOV scheme and prohibition of driver-only cars along EDSA during peak hours were set in place “without public consultation and hearing.”

“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 law enforcement agency, it added, has yet to prove empirically that the figure, indeed, represented driver-only vehicles.

The resolution pointed out that driver-only ban of the MMDA during rush hours would, in effect, “deprive thousands of people of the use of the country’s major thoroughfare.”

Sotto, in an interview, said they believed that the HOV policy will not solve the worsening traffic in EDSA. He said the plan would, instead, create more problems if the MMC and MMDA insist on implementing it.

“We think this is a bad idea to resolve the traffic [problem],” Sotto said in Filipino. “Before they think of other ways to resolve traffic, they should first remove illegally parked vehicles in Metro Manila. That is our problem.”

He raised the possible repercussions of the driver-only ban, particularly, that it would create heavy traffic, and compromise the motorists’ safety because they might be forced to carry strangers to avoid being apprehended.

Although in jest, Sotto said the scheme was also “anti-Senate President” since he has no driver.

Recto, for his part, said the plan “will only transfer the problem in EDSA to other roads.”

“EDSA is not a barometer of traffic flow, that by simply ordering a restriction on its use, we can conclude that traffic has been solved,” he said.

SR 845 also cited protests and criticisms from “experts and citizens alike,”  who question the  success of HOV regulations in easing traffic congestion, adding the “absence of safe and reliable alternative means of transportation, and lack of uncongested vehicular road routes.”

The four officials moved for the Upper Chamber to call on the MMC and the MMDA to “conduct public consultations and further study the ‘driver-only’ ban, and provide for real solutions to Metro Manila traffic congestions.”

They also wanted the MMC to recall the MMDA Regulation No. 18-005 “Establishing the Expanded HOV Lanes in EDSA,” and for MMDA to suspend its implementation.

Sotto said he was confident that the “entire Senate” will support the measure. Sen. Grace Poe, earlier, had opposed the MMDA’s move.

Copies of the resolution will be given to the MMC and MMDA once it is adopted in Senate. And he believes that the agencies, “should take it.”

Last Monday, MMDA Resolution No. 18-005 was issued to specify that single-occupant vehicles are banned from traversing all EDSA HOV  lanes from 7 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The MMDA said the plan was approved by the MMC, consist of mayors.

HOV lanes cover the highway from Balintawak, Quezon City to Magallanes, Makati City. Violators will be fined P1,000.

The agencies define HOVs as “all public and private motor vehicles except motorcycles with at least two occupants, including the driver.”

 

 
CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP
 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

["news"]
[2512426,2814292,2534630,2485825,2408462,2358243,2358052,2344118,2339143,2047660,1998697,996820,995332,995948,995006,994327,994303,993947,993860,993770,993529,993383,993285,798318,2877927,2877922,2877861,2877917,2877913,2877910]