Because of the truck ban during specific hours, plus the need to beat the schedule of releasing of cargoes at the Cebu International Port, a huge number of cargo vehicles converge and clog many roads leading to the pier area.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia had stepped in to find solutions to the massive gridlock by calling on meetings among stakeholders to discuss the problem, and by coordinating with the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) to match their schedules with the truck ban imposed by local government units.
Starting January 15, the releasing and pulling out of cargoes from the Cebu International Port (CIP) will be at night time instead of during office hours: Mondays to Sundays from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. the next day.
This is to ensure the truckers association in Cebu can still fulfill their deliverables while the Cebu Provincial Government implements a truck ban and other measures to ease up traffic build-up in Consolacion and Liloan towns.
The truck ban in the said towns stays at 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. During day time, no cargoes will be released and pulled out from the port.
These moves were agreed by Governor Garcia, representatives of the CPA, Bureau of Customs (BOC), and truckers association as well as Mayors Joannes Alegado and Christina Frasco of Consolacion and Liloan in a consultative meeting Wednesday, January 7.
The governor also asked the truckers to deliver the cargoes, if possible, within the scheduled pull-out time to lessen the volume of traffic during daytime.
Garcia said the traffic situation in northern Cebu has not only affected the riding public but the businesses as well.
“The traffic congestion that is happening during daytime is affecting everyone. For those that are in private vehicles going to their work or their offices, they spend more time on the road than in the office itself because they have to leave early or else they would be late,” she said.
Delays in the delivery of cargoes would also cause money for businesses, she added.
Trailer trucks and wing van trucks plying the roads going to and from CIP are seen as one of the causes of heavy traffic in the north.
Local road policy
Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Victor Caindec, who attended the consultative meeting, said the issue of traffic management is the road network and the volume that is utilizing the available road network.
“We can regulate the volume (referring to vehicles on the road) but we cannot stop the volume,” he said, adding that two trucker associations expressed concerns that they operate on demand covered by a certain timeline daily.
Representatives of the Cebu Truckers Association and Visayas Unified Truckers Association, Inc. told Caindec that the port’s schedule for releasing of cargoes start at 3:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays which is a primary consideration for movement of goods.
Cebu Truckers have around 600 trucks while Visayas Unified Truckers have around 700.
“As to the movement of vehicles, it is not within the domain of our control. So, if the local government units (LGUs) present the policy, we accept it,” he said.
Caindec said a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) issued in 2018 by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which authorizes LGUs to set road user policies.
“So, when the LGUs will say they will institute truck ban, JMC 2018-001 gives them that authority but has to be acted as a law or ordinance,” Caindec added.
Recognizing the huge economic disadvantages brought by the traffic crisis to her constituents and all Cebuanos, Frasco said it is time to intervene and help the people to have a better quality of life.
“In our part, we fully understand that it may pose challenges to those that are involved in the trucking industry but as you can see, this consolidation, mapangitaan ta ni’g solusyon, if through coordinated approach,” she said.
“The goal is alleviation for everyone kay the lesser time on the road and the lesser time your trucks are stuck in traffic, the better it is for you (truckers association) because we all know the more delays there are, more losses that you incur,” Frasco added.
Alegado said his town’s problem is the heavy volume of vehicles that traverse their roads.
Although a truck ban was implemented, heavy traffic and congested volume of vehicles were still observed in the northern Cebu highways which led them to propose for a longer truck ban.
Garcia asked for the cooperation of all and emphasized that this remains a work-on-progress. Another meeting is set on January 14 to further discuss the matter.
Also present in the meeting were representatives from Mandaue City Government, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Regional Director Eduardo Montealto Jr., the Provincial Engineering’s Office, and representatives of the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR). (Mylen Manto)