DOTC lifts ban on trucks carrying perishable goods
By RAINIER ALLAN RONDA
The Department of Transportation and Communications has exempted trucks carrying perishable foodstuffs from the rush hour truck ban in Metro Manila to ensure the supply of basic goods in the metropolis.
Thompson Lantion, chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and DOTC spokesman, said that the exemption may include trucks carrying rice and corn if approved by the mayors of Metro Manila’s cities and municipalities. However, from the agreement reached at a multi-agency meeting on Friday wherein the truck ban exemptions were discussed between the DOTC, Metro Manila mayors, and the Department of Agriculture, the exemption covered perishable food items such as fish, vegetables, dairy and poultry products and frozen meat products.
Lantion said that the truck ban exemption was already in effect with trucks carrying perishable food items allowed to enter Metro Manila and roll through major thoroughfares from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., from Monday to Friday.
Lantion said the primary reason for the exemption was to mitigate the increasing prices of rice, fish, and meat products in public markets. He said the MMDA has been asked to come up with a new idea on how to prevent traffic congestion because of the lifting of the truck ban.
It was also learned that the MMDA was also expected to lay out "food lanes" or specially designated lanes along major thoroughfares where the trucks carrying foodstuffs could pass through.
It was learned that the truck ban exemption was originally pushed by the Confederation of Truckers’ Association of the Philippines.
According to Lantion, the DA will be issuing the exempted truckers permits to avoid being accosted by traffic enforcers.
Traffic enforcement chief Bobby Esquivel said in agreement with the DOTC’s decision to let huge vehicles carrying food to use Metro Manila’s reads and streets even during rush hours.
The DOTC, however, decided to lift the same in order to help address the problem of rising prices of food and other basic goods.
Esquivel said the truck ban exemptions issued by the MMDA cover entry and exit and will be honored by traffic enforcers on the field. With Michael Punongbayan