Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a senate resolution probing the legitimacy of recent memorandums from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that have given colorum buses and green-plated trucks the go-signal to hit the roads of Metro Manila.
"I'm calling for a Senate investigation on these LTFRB issuances because they prejudice public transport safety to benefit only a few. It seems that these issuances violate the Aquino administration's policies for economic development," Santiago said.
The first memo on the crosshairs of the senator is Memorandum Circular Numbers 2014-009 and 2014-010 that have suspended operations against these colorum buses and furthermore allowed them to go beyond their prescribed provincial routes and drive into and on the roads of Metro Manila, including EDSA since July 19 until October 17, 2014.
"The suspension of operations against the out-of-line buses would only legalize and spur the proliferation of unauthorized vehicles, which is inimical to the country's economic development," she said.
The senator adds that these memos utterly ignored countless studies by various agencies indicating PhP 153 billion a year goes down the drain due to lost productivity caused by traffic congestion.
"These issuances also defeat the purpose of the establishment of the Integrated Transport System to decongest traffic in Metro Manila and to restrict provincial buses and other unauthorized public utility vehicles from entering EDSA," she said in her resolution.
Senator Santiago also specifies LTFRB's Board Resolution No. 5 as the other culprit in the massive traffic jam metro wide.
Also known as the ‘No Apprehension Policy,’ it allows ineligible trucks-for-hire with green plates and papers that are still being processed by the LTFRB to travel to their destination using the main highways of Metro Manila.
The LTFRB rationale was “after consultation with other government agencies, representatives of the business sectors, and with TH Freight Owners; and considering the number of applicants nationwide which will stop their operations that might affect the trade and commerce of our country, [the extension was necessary] to give ample time to prospective applicants to file their corresponding applications.”
"LTFRB's logic escapes me. Allowing these trucks to ply our roads when they are still securing the necessary paperwork in the name of trade and commerce is a flimsy excuse. This is LTFRB' failing in their basic regulatory functions. Furthermore, it appears in the LTFRB resolution that the LTFRB only consulted with the business sector and the trucking companies. Had they consulted with motorists and commuters, the Metro Manila traffic situation could have been different," countered Santiago.
The senator backed up her claims by showing studies that the LTFRB's Board Resolution No. 5 increased travel time by 73.6% and slowed down travel speed by 41% on both Commonwealth Ave. and the South Superhighway while also increasing truck volume in Katipunan Avenue by 80.67%, C5-Bagong Ilog by 60.52%, and C5-McKinley Hills by 33.07%.
"Together with the LTFRB's memorandum circulars, this board resolution is wreaking havoc on the daily lives of commuters and motorists," Santiago said.