16 May 2013

Shift To Batangas, Subic Supported

Truck operators support the government’s plan to move cargo traffic from Manila to Batangas and Subic ports to decongest Metro Manila but urge regulators to withdraw existing truck ban and instead establish a regular truck route that they could use unhindered.

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) said it supports the Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DoTC) impending policy decision on shifting port traffic , saying the proposal is “salutary and economically viable.” But CTAP president Ruperto Bayocot said government should fix some established trucking regulations first before implementing the cargo traffic shift, primarily the trucking ban on certain thoroughfares.

“Unlike in Metro Manila, the transportation of cargoes in and out of Batangas or Subic ports should not be covered by a truck ban. Instead, a special truck route should be established to ensure the continuing and hasslefree transport of cargoes,” he said.

Bayocot said cargo trucks that will move operation from Manila to either Batangas or Subic ports should not be under the control of the local trucking associations covering their new port of business.

“There exists at present a local trucking association in Batangas port which tends to control and monopolize the operation and movement of trucks in the area. CTAP believes that every truck transporting cargoes in and out of Batangas port should not be subject to control by any local trucking association. On the contrary, such truck should be given access to and from the port without being harassed,” he said.

Bayocot urged the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to establish a complaint and monitoring office inside Batangas port, in particular, “to safeguard the interest of truckers and other port users.” He also defended truckers from being blamed as major factors to the perennial problem of traffic congestion in the streets of Metro Manila.

“Truckers are not solely to blame for the daily traffic congestion in the port of Manila. There are other factors that contributed to the traffic congestion,” he said.

Bayocot cited the local government unit’s ordinances that run counter to the Metro Manila Council ordinance no. 5, which gives trucks a 24-hour window time and a designated route to the north, south east and west of Metro Manila.

“Hence, during truck hours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., hundreds of trucks and trailers were forced to park along Bonifacio Drive and streets adjacent to Manila ports. Traffic congestion was aggravated when the Department of Public Works and Highways issued a directive prohibiting trucks from parking along Bonifacio Drive and nearby areas,” he said. (Kris Bayos, Manila Bulletin)