The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Pinag-isang Lakas ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) today gave its stand against the LTFRB’s move to ban provincial buses from having stations along EDSA. The two groups also called on the Supreme Court to move in favor of the restraining order filed by Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares and the Makabayan bloc. 

The groups said that LTFRB’s real intent is not to lessen traffic along one of the country’s busiest public highways, but to facilitate the profits of big local businesses who will own the terminal and to push anew the phasing out of public utility vehicles with those that come from China or are made by foreign multinational corporations. 

“The EDSA bus ban will only cause heavier traffic because contrary to government claims, there will be more vehicles in 
EDSA. Provincial buses will still have to travel EDSA to reach their garage, and there will be additional buses, which will likely be the China-made P2Ps, to fetch commuters from the grand terminals. The provincial bus ban is not the solution. It is being used to mask big business deals with China and foreign automakers,” said KMU secretary-general Jerome Adonis.

“Closing the provincial bus stations will be a massive inconvenience to commuters as they will be forced to pay more and travel further to secure rides to the provinces with their luggage, including goods they bought to be sold in their hometowns. Instead of closing the bus stations, the government should help the bus companies improve the efficiency of the operations of the bus stations. These bus companies provide a very important public service to thousands of Filipinos everyday,” Adonis said. 

The labor leader said that public consultations should be first conducted to gather more efficient ways to ease traffic along EDSA and other major thoroughfares instead of the government agencies embarking on new schemes that can prove faulty and inconvenient to the public in the long run. 

“The LTRFB and the MMDA should consider what members of the public think – or at least what the PUV associations and transport companies have to say. There’s no doubt that they also have ideas that can prove effective if only they will be given a chance to be implemented. Feedback from the public and stakeholders are always very effective and should be considered whenever reforms are going to be enacted in any public service area,” he argued. 

Adonis said that the LTFRB and the MMDA keep coming up with solutions that appear to solve immediate traffic problems, but will inevitably prove to worsen traffic and be very inconvenient to ordinary commuters. 

He said that the real intent of the move to close the bus stations was to phase out the existing stations and companies to provide openings for Chinese businesses in the public transport sector and their China-made PUVs that will ply the NCR-provincial route. 

“We recognize the need to implement measures to drastically ease traffic congestion along EDSA and the streets that lead and intersect with it, but closing the bus stations along EDSA is not an effective solution. As we see it, the current goal is to remove the operating bus companies from EDSA so they can be replaced by new China-made public transportation,” the labor leader argued. 

Adonis said that to decongest EDSA, the government should prioritize mass transportation. The public transport system should be made more efficient, and we should implement a system wherein less private vehicles ply the said highway during rush hour. “There are many other ways that should be explored to improve the traffic situation, but the main goal should be to help commuters, and not to implement more income-generating schemes that will not benefit commuters and instead worsen their daily traffic woes,” he said.

Reference: Jerome Adonis, secretary-general

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is an independent labour center promoting genuine, militant and patriotic trade unionism. It is genuine because it recognizes the struggle between labor and capital and upholds the legitimate interests of the working class; militant because it relies on the workers collective struggle in defending trade union and democratic rights; and patriotic because it seeks to end imperialist domination and control over the Philippines.