MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to answer three suits challenging the validity of its ban on provincial buses along the 23.8-kilometer Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa).
Aside from requiring the MMDA led by its Chairman Danilo Lim and the Metro Manila Council composed of mayors of cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region to file a comment within 10 days, the tribunal also consolidated the three petitions.
No ruling on whether to grant the temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction stopping the implementation of MMDA’s Regulation No. 19-002 was made in the meantime.
The suits were separately filed by AKO Bicol party-list group Reps. Ronald Ang and Alfredo Garbin Jr., Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda and the Bayan Muna party-list.
The petitions claim a lack of “consultations with the public regarding the issue and should have heard the sides of the owners, bus operators, and especially the passengers that will be greatly affected with the implementation of the said regulation.”
The groups claimed the regulation affected thousands of passengers from the provinces.
The groups pointed out that the annual average daily traffic in 2017, which showed that an average of 367,738 vehicles traverse EDSA daily, with 67 percent or 247,527 of these vehicles being private motor vehicles (with 60-70 percent or an average of 148,516 to 185,645 private motor vehicles per day are single occupancy vehicles) while city buses, plying along Edsa with an average of 12,000 units daily and only around 3,300 are provincial buses.
The groups also claimed the planned closure of provincial bus terminals would violate the Public Service Act and is an encroachment of the authority of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to issue, amend and revoke certificates of public convenience to public utility vehicles. Benjamin Pulta / PNA – northboundasia.com