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Snafu (Truck Ban) by Mayor Joseph Estrada of Manila Resulted in Economic Losses

Updated on January 4, 2015

Mayor Estrada and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno showing copies of the resolution lifting truck ban

Mayor Joseph Estrada failed to study thoroughly the consequences of a truck ban in Manila.

A pardon is not a guarantee that the recipient reforms his ways or he has become wiser.

This is being demonstrated by Joseph Estrada, former president of the Philippines, who was accused of receiving bribes and embezzling funds of tobacco subsidy among others. Three years into his term as president the economy of the Philippines plummeted owing to his mismanagement.

The snafus he was committing prompted the House of the representatives to impeach him. His impeachment was endorsed to the Senate that has the power to try to make a judgement on the case lodged against him: plunder.

("Snafu was originally a World War II-era military acronym standing for "situation normal: all f...d up." These days, a snafu is any mistake or problem. The original, military meaning of snafu is obscene" Internet. Jan. 3,2015).

The impeachment trial was botched owing to an impasse. The opening of an envelop containing evidence was blocked by a vote of 11 against versus 10 in favor.

The following day, Estrada was forced out of office of the president by a virtual coup. He was not immune from criminal charges either. He was tried by a special court, Sandiganbayan, that convicted him to life imprisonment. If the death penalty law enacted during the regime of Pres. Fidel V. Ramos were still in force Estrada would have qualified for electrocution, plunder being a heinous crime.

In 2007 Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoned Estrada with the obvious intention of splitting the opposition vote so that her candidate would win. In that presidential election of 2010, Estrada placed second in the race, nosing out the candidate of the administration. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III won.

[I have another Hub "Commission on Election of the Philippines Gave Way to Grand Political Strategy" with this link].

In the national elections of 2013 Estrada ran for mayor of Manila and won. He has appended to his name the title “President Mayor.”

Among the early acts of the Council of Manila, initiated by Mayor Estrada, that he signed into a Council resolution is a truck ban.

Truck ban

“Estrada enacted the truck ban on February 24 in an attempt to ease traffic in a place notorious for daily commutes of five hours or more. Eight-wheeled trucks and vehicles weighing more than 4,500 kilograms are prohibited from Manila roads from 5am to 10am and 3pm to 9pm, Monday to Saturday.”

“The Manila City government in February approved Ordinance 8366, which banned trucks from plying the city's roads from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, except on Sundays and holidays” (GMA News).

"The days when buses and trucks were king of the road are over," Estrada, 77, said after the regulation took effect” (South China Morning Post print edition).

The effort to ease the discomfort of the commuting public is laudable. However, there are consequences of the truck ban that appear to have been not thoroughly considered.

Port congestion

Congestion of Manila ports began to build up as the truck ban lingered.

"Some quarters are still pushing for a few more revisions to the truck ban," said Abigail Valte, spokeswoman for President Benigno Aquino. "We leave it to the local government to act on these requests" (GMA news).

“Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada in August defended Manila's daytime truck ban amid protests and allegations that it was to blame for the congestion in the city's ports. He said the ban wouldn't be lifted” (South China Morning Post print edition).

Losses on a national scale

Congestion in Manila's ports over the last six months has also led to P70 billion in economic losses, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

This amount does not include the P2.4 billion in losses due to heavy traffic.

In Maki Pulido's report on "24 Oras" aired early Thursday evening, NEDA secretary Arsenio Balicasan said that the losses also include forgone opportunities such as more jobs for Filipinos: Because the goods can't leave the port, the tendency is to freeze hiring or to cut down employees.

"Everybody is hurt by that because we could have more income realized by everyone, we have purchasing power higher," Balicasan said.

President Benigno Aquino III blamed Manila's truck ban as the primary cause of the port congestion in Manila's ports.

"It’s a city ordinance that perhaps, nobody envisioned how bad this would amount to," the President said in an interview in Davao City.

Cargoes being pulled out of Manila ports dropped to as low as 2,000 containers from the normal 5,000 containers per day since the enforcement of the truck ban was enforced.

Importers and brokers also contributed to the problem by "turning government ports into warehouses," Pres. Aquino added.

Aquino gave a hint that his administration might institute some legal actions on the truck ban.

Truck ban lifted

“The controversial truck ban implemented in the City of Manila was lifted yesterday, part of efforts to decongest the port brimming with uncollected container vans.”

Estrada signed Executive Order 67 declaring the truck ban lifted beginning at noon yesterday (Jose Rodel Clapano. Manila lifts truck ban. Sept. 14, 2014).

This adverse truck ban shows that the pardon of Estrada has not made him any wiser.


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