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Solons reject private vehicles ban on EDSA

Hananeel Bordey

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LTFRB supports EDSA bus ban

Two Senate leaders rejected the suggestion of a fellow lawmaker to ban private vehicles along EDSA during peak hours.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday blocked the proposal of Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice that aims to decongest what is perhaps Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare.

“It’s not well-thought. He says add more buses during that time, then where do you dump the thousands of buses after 9 a.m.? My original suggestion is still the best, no parking in the entire Metro Manila streets from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.” Sotto said in a text message.

Sotto said last month a “no parking policy” will ease traffic woes within Metro Manila.

He cited an experience when he was stuck in EDSA for two hours on his way to the Senate. He used alternative side street routes.

Sotto pointed out that if there were less obstructions along side streets, EDSA will decongest as private vehicles will opt to use inner roads.

Recto said private car users pay road taxes so it is improper to ban them from EDSA, even for a short period.

“It’s a crazy idea. But people are free to suggest. I don’t take those seriously. Private car owners pay a lot of taxes. Excise tax, VAT, duties, road-users tax on vehicles and excise, VAT on petroleum. Hundreds of billions a year,” Recto said in another text message.

Earlier, Recto eyed to hire additional traffic enforcers to man the Metro streets “round-the-clock and rain or shine.”

The lawmaker previously sought to add more personnel as the Metro Manila Development Authority has only 2,000 field staff and still need 5,000 more enforcers.  The funding will come from the collection of MMDA fines from traffic and littering violations an increased budget.

On Monday, Erice, vice chair of House Committee on Metro Manila Development, suggested to make EDSA a mass transport highway and allow public vehicles only from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m to 9 p.m.

The House member said this will benefit the labor sector which often uses the public transportation system.

Recently, the Senate Committee on Public Services tackled the grant of emergency powers to the Executive department to cut the tedious lawmaking process to ease traffic congestion.

But panel chair Senator Grace Poe thumbed it down and instead asked for a more specific traffic management plan.

 

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