Lawmakers slam MMDA's scheme banning driver-only vehicles on EDSA during rush hour

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — Two lawmakers on Wednesday expressed their dismay over  Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) plan to ban private single-passenger vehicles on EDSA during rush hour.

Senator Grace Poe questioned the process on how the MMDA came up with the policy, leaving the agency with fiery queries.

"Kayo ba'y nagkaroon na ng trial period para siguraduhin kung ano ba ang magigigng epekto nito? Nagkaroon na ba kayo ng bukas na pagdinig? Kami ba'y inimbitahan ninyo para konsultahin dito?" Poe said.

[Translation:Did you have a trial period to ensure its effect? Did you have a public hearing? Did you consult us?]

The MMDA on Tuesday said its policy-making body, the Metro Manila Council, has agreed to prohibit private vehicles with only one passenger from passing the national highway during rush hour.

The agency said the measure aims to decongest the main road.

READ: MMDA assigns rush-hour lanes on EDSA for multiple-passenger vehicles

Buhay Party-list Representative Lito Atienza said he would file a resolution to stop the plan.

"Let's all act as I will file a resolution to counter this kind of a measure. You cannot continue depriving the use of a motor vehicle by private individuals," Atienza said.

"Binigyan na tayo ng coding, ngayon bibigyan naman tayo ng limitation of our right to drive our own cars. Pano yung walang driver? Pano yung isa lang ang driver?" he added.

[Translation: They already imposed number coding, now they will limit our right to drive our own cars. How about those who do not have  a driver or those who only have one driver?]

According to the congressman, the MMDA should address first other irregularities on EDSA such as the illegal terminals of some provincial buses.

"Wala silang nakita kundi yung parusahan ang karamihan, samantalang tuloy tuloy ang illegal sa lansangan. I'm pointing out and I'll continue pointing out the illegally situated terminals along EDSA. Forty-seven of them are still operating and they are not doing anything. They are merely saying this is a problem we cannot just solve," Atienza said.

[Translation: They just always make people suffer while they should be looking into illegal acts on the roads. I'm pointing out and I'll continue pointing out the illegally situated terminals along EDSA. Forty-seven of them are still operating and they are not doing anything. They are merely saying this is a problem we cannot just solve.]

Alternative route

Automobile Association of the Philippines President Gus Lagman, meanwhile, said the MMDA should reach a "compromise" instead by providing alternative routes to those who will be affected by the scheme.

"I don't agree completely with that plan. I think we can go for a compromise where maybe one or even two lines will be restricted to those with [only] one passenger in the car," Lagman said in an interview on CNN Philippines' News Night.

"Single occupancy vehicles must have an alternative [route]. They must be allowed to use the other lanes," he added.

This way, Lagman said, the agency can "encourage carpooling" without "putting disadvantage to those [who] are alone in their car."

A public hearing should also be conducted before the new policy takes effect, he said.

"There can be a public hearing first before the rules are set. It will be difficult to correct after it is implemented. Sana (I hope) there is a public hearing first," he said.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas and Cecile Lardizabal contributed to this report.