By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate leaders rejected on Tuesday the proposal of a congressman to ban private vehicles in EDSA during rush hours.
Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice floated the idea of making EDSA exclusive to public utility vehicles from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to address the worsening traffic condition in the 23-kilometer national highway.
Erice suggested that private vehicles use alternative roads during these hours.
But Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the congressman may not have thought about his proposal carefully.
“It’s not a well thought of idea. He says dagdagan ang buses (increase the buses) during that time, then where do you dump the thousand of buses that ply after 9 a.m.?” Sotto said in a text message sent to reporters.
Senate Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, brushed aside Erice’s “crazy” proposition.
“It’s a crazy idea. But people are free to suggest. I don’t take those seriously,” he said.
Recto believes that private car ownerS should not be discriminated against in the efforts to ease traffic as he noted that they “pay a lot of taxes” such as excise tax, value-added tax, and road users tax.
The tax collections from private car owners, he said, amount to “Hundreds of billions a year.”
Sotto, meanwhile, maintained that a strict no-parking policy would “best” solve the congestion of vehicles in EDSA.
“My original suggestion is still the best, no parking in the entire metro Manila streets from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Then cars need not pass EDSA,” he said.