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SC upholds MMDAâs number coding scheme
The SC said the bus operators or franchisees, not the petitioners, should be the parties in the case.
Boy Santos, File

SC upholds MMDA’s number coding scheme

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the power of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to enforce measures to ease traffic congestion in the metropolis, such as the number coding scheme for public and private vehicles.

In a 28-page decision, the entire SC unanimously voted to dismiss the petition for injunction filed by bus drivers Samson Pantaleon, Eduardo Tacoyo Jr., Jesus Bautista and Monico Agustin.

The SC said the bus operators or franchisees, not the petitioners, should be the parties in the case.

The high court promulgated the case on Nov. 17, 2020 but the ruling was released to the public only last June 11. The decision was penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

The petitioners questioned the MMDA’s Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or the number coding scheme, which is embodied in MMDA Resolution No. 10-16 and Memorandum Circular No. 08, Series of 2010.

“The petitioners failed to present a factual foundation to rebut the presumption of validity of the challenged issuances, which were issued pursuant to the MMDA’s power to regulate traffic under Republic Act 7924 or the MMDA Law,” the SC said.

“The arbitrariness, oppressiveness and unreasonableness of the implementation of the issuances have not been sufficiently shown. The buses driven by the petitioners have not been totally banned from plying Metro Manila roads. However, as in private vehicles, the operation of public utility buses was regulated to ease traffic congestion,” the court argued.

Under RA 7924, the MMDA is vested with authority to regulate traffic along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

Based on a memorandum of agreement between the MMDA and bus operators, buses were partially exempted from the number coding scheme. Passenger buses were included in the traffic scheme pursuant to the MMDA issuances, prompting the petitioner to file the case before the SC.

The high court ruled that the MMDA issuances do no encroach upon the regulatory powers of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board over public utility vehicles.

The number coding scheme remains suspended amid the pandemic, MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija said. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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