Provincial buses ban on EDSA is ‘anti-poor’ – Salceda

MANILA, Philippines – Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said on Tuesday, August 16, that the decision to remove provincial buses’ terminals along EDSA is detrimental to poor Filipinos.

“It is anti-poor since provincial bus passengers are those who can only pay P450 (ordinary) or P750 (aircon) and cannot afford the more expensive plane fares,” said Salceda in a statement. 

“This measure is injurious to poor rural people in terms of additional inconvenience, additional ‘minimum’ fare, additional time to destination, and double loading,” he added. 

Mayors of Metro Manila, meeting as members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), recently passed a resolution that will relocate the provincial bus terminals in Pasay City and Cubao, Quezon City, to the outskirts of Metro Manila to lessen traffic congestion along EDSA. 

The MMC is the policy-making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). 

Salceda said that the MMC and the MMDA should have conducted consultations with the public regarding the issue.  

“Have a little empathy. If not, have a little law and remember: ‘Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws,’” said Salceda, who quoted Section 1, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution

He also called the resolution as “unfair” because the burden of easing traffic in the National Capital Region will be transferred to countryside citizens “who compose 74% of the poor and are merely coerced to seek economic opportunity in NCR where it is concentrated."

“This is beyond ignominy. This is reckless injustice under the guise of policy reflex,” said Salceda. 

In his statement, the lawmaker even said that the trending mobile game Pokemon Go is a bigger threat on traffic than provincial buses. 

“Pokemon-playing in private cars [poses] more threat of aggravation to Metro Manila traffic than provincial buses. ‘Dahan-dahan, may Pikachu dito. Itabi mo sandali, may lures dito (Slow down, there’s a Pikachu here. Stop the car for a minute, there are lures here),’” said Salceda. 

“If you are rich enough to maintain a private car, you must be rich enough [to buy] yourself and your kids an Android, iPad, or iPhone. Multiply that by the 2.5 million cars in Metro Manila,” he added. 

New petition before SC

In 2014, Salceda, as Albay governor, asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the MMDA and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board over the order to limit buses from Southern Luzon and Bicol at a terminal in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. (READ: Albay gov opposes Alabang endpoint for provincial buses

The memorandum effectively banned these buses to ply EDSA starting August 28, 2014. 

On Tuesday, Salceda said his petition before the High Court remains pending and he plans to file a new motion given the latest decision of the MMC. (READ: MMDA confident court won't stop Alabang bus terminal

“I am filing a supplemental motion in cognizance of the new developments, largely injurious to the people I represent and seek the issuance of a TRO on the Metro Manila Commission approval of provincial bus ban in EDSA,” he said.  Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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