By Jel Santos
Only a temporary restraining order (TRO) can halt the provincial bus ban and the closure of the 47 provincial bus terminals along EDSA, which is set for implementation in August, an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Agency (MMDA) said.
Jose Arturo Garcia, MMDA general manager, said that the agency will send letters to local government units (LGUs) hosting provincial bus terminals on EDSA, asking them to cancel the business permits of the terminals.
The Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued recently Memorandum Circular 2019-031, amending the routes of provincial buses plying EDSA in line with the provincial bus ban.
“Tuloy ‘yan. Iyan kasi nasa korte na kaya hindi namin mapag-usapan. May mga nag-TRO diyan. Ang sabi namin kahit dati pa, we will still push through with the plan. Ngayon, naglabas ang LTFRB ng Memorandum Circular regarding dyan na ina-adjust na ‘yung routes ng provincial buses, after nga niyan we will request the LGUs na may terminal sa EDSA, we’ll write them a letter to cancel all the business permits (It will push through. That’s already in the court that is why we did not tackle it. There are parties who file TRO for that. Like what we have said before, it will push through. Since LTFRB recently issued a Memorandum Circular adjusting the routes of provincial buses, after that we will request the LGUs which have terminals on EDSA, we’ll write them a letter to cancel all the business permits),” the MMDA general manager said.
“Wala namang TRO, eh. May pending case, so as long as the court ay hindi sinasabi sa amin na itigil yan, tuloy-tuloy lang ‘yung plano namin. Wala namang pumipigil, eh (There is no TRO. There is a pending case, so as long as the court is not telling us to stop that, we will push through with the plan. There is nothing that will stop us),” he added.
Garcia said the agency has no authority to shut down the terminals unless they violated the Nose-in and Nose-out policy.
“Kasi ang MMDA, wala naman siyang power to close it down except the (enforcement of the) Nose-in Nose-out, so ang LGU ang gagawa nyan. So as of today po, ‘yung plano po to ban the provincial buses terminals along EDSA will push through,” he explained.
Asked if the interim terminals in Valenzuela, Parañaque, and Laguna are already ready, the MMDA general manager said: “Yes.”
“Hindi naman sabay-sabay ‘yan, eh. Let’s say ang provincial buses ay 3,000, north and south ‘yan, tig 1,500 na lang sila – 20 hours or 10 hours (The buses will not use the terminals simultaneously. Let’s say there are 3,000 provincial buses, north and south, each terminal will have 1,500 – 20 hours or 10 hours),” said Garcia.
MMDA said that if ever there will be a dry run for the provincial bus ban, penalties will already be imposed, Garcia said, noting that without enforcement some hard-headed Filipino drivers will not follow.