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Choosy ang MMDA! Drilon: Ban on driver-only cars ‘discriminatory’

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The “driver-only” ban in Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) would discriminate against those who cannot afford to hire drivers.

Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon stressed this on Wednesday as the Senate, in a bipartisan move, adopted a resolution urging the recall and suspension of the implementation of the “driver-only” ban in EDSA.

“That is the single biggest argument against this. It unduly favors those who have the resources to hire drivers, and effectively exempts them from the ban,” he said.

Drilon, who sponsored the measure, said the regulation on banning vehicles “should have undergone a more extensive consultation.”

The resolution noted that the driver-only ban of the MMDA would “effectively deprive thousands of people of the use of the country’s major thoroughfare.”

Senators voted unanimously to adopt proposed Senate Resolution No. 845, introduced by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

Upon motion by Zubiri, all senators present during the session were made co-authors of the resolution.

The resolution “strongly urged” the Metro Manila Council and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) “to conduct public consultations and further study the ‘driver-only’ ban, and provide for real solutions to Metro Manila traffic congestions.”

“The implementation of a regulation that would allegedly affect 70 percent of the motor vehicles plying and enjoying the use of the Philippines’ major thoroughfare without holding a prior public consultation or hearing is violative of the due process of laws enshrined and protected under the Constitution,” the resolution said.

The resolution said that when the Metro Manila Council issued MMDA Resolution No. 18-005, which designated all lanes of EDSA as ‘High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes’ and imposed the driver-only ban, the body had done so “without public consultation and hearing.”

It added that before the ban, the Metro Manila Council had also issued MMDA Regulation No. 17-400, which designated the lanes closest to the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 as HOV lanes.

The previous MMDA regulation was also made without public consultation, and had a dry run “with an alleged but unknown success.”

“Experts and citizens alike protest, criticize and doubt the success of HOV regulations in easing traffic congestion in the absence of safe and reliable alternative means of transportation, and lack of uncongested vehicular road routes,” the resolution said.

The resolution cited transportation experts such as University of the Philippines Planning and Development Research Foundation’s Primitivo Cal, who warned that such a ‘piecemeal’ or ‘band-aid’ measure could worsen traffic congestion by encouraging the proliferation of unauthorized “for-hire” vehicles.

Transportation research also showed that HOV regulations, whose main objective was to encourage carpooling, “would not eliminate congestion as it was proven that it was not always more effective than general purpose lanes,” the resolution said.

The resolution said that in countries like the Indonesia, US and Canada where HOV lanes had been implemented, the regulation had been criticized as “ineffective and counterproductive,” while other jurisdictions instead offer incentives for HOVs rather than ban them.

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