Senator Manny Pacquiao thanks and praises the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for pushing for a single EDSA bus route also called the bus rapid transit project aimed to streamline the bus operations in Metro Manila.
Pacquiao expressed his support following the pronouncement of officials of both government agencies that only a single bus route dedicated to EDSA would be allowed out of the 61 existing routes once strict quarantine rules in Metro Manila relaxes.
Under the plan, buses shall occupy the median lane, complementing Metro Rail Transit 3 which runs along EDSA.
“This move is foreseen to drastically reduce the number of buses plying EDSA from 5,000 buses to just a little over one thousand. With this scheme, it is expected that traffic congestion in the busiest thoroughfare will be greatly reduced,” said Senator Pacquiao.
It can be recalled that sometime December last year, Senator Paquiao came out with a similar proposal and conducted a trial run with some transport department and MMDA officials present.
“I am very glad that Secretary Tugade and Chairman Lim are embarking on the project at this time. We share the same vision and I will submit, once needed, the senate resolution to ensure that such a plan be realized and supported immediately,” said Senator Pacquiao.
At the same time, the senator also calls on officials of the DOTR as well as the MMDA for the immediate opening and operations of the integrated bus terminals for northern and southern Luzon provincial buses entering Metro Manila roads.
Pacquiao was referring to the plans of the executive branch to require all bus companies to cease their individual city terminals and terminate at central bus terminals outside Metro Manila.
These provincial terminals are located at the FTI Taguig and Sta. Rosa Laguna that will cater to the southern Luzon buses and the Philippine Arena and Valenzuela terminals for the northern Luzon buses.
The move was meant to help decongest Metro Manila with the planned closure of more than 70 provincial terminals, most of them located in EDSA and implementation of the ban on provincial buses from plying EDSA.
A Quezon City court issued a preliminary injunction against the ban in July, last year.
Pacquiao however, has another point for backing the terminals’ immediate opening.
“At this time of pandemic, we need to ensure that all entry and exit points in Metro Manila can be controlled and where we can do the proper monitoring, cleaning and even contact tracing to prevent the further spread of the virus.” said Pacquiao.
“Imagine the difficulty if all the 16,000 provincial buses will be allowed to go inside Metro Manila once the travel restrictions is lifted?”
On the legal impediment on its implementation, Pacquiao said “this should be no reason for the executive branch not to act on this at this point in time.”
“The Bayanihan Act has given the executive branch the needed authority to ask the courts for the immediate lifting of the restraining order. The courts should listen as this is now about doing all that we can to fight this pandemic,” he concluded.