The power of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to enforce metropolis traffic congestion measures has been upheld by the Supreme Court (SC). Primarily, this involves the number coding scheme for private and public vehicles. The SC voted unanimously in a 28-page decision to dismiss a petition for injunction filed by four bus drivers.
The MMDA has authority to regulate Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare traffic through RA 7924. Petitioners Eduardo Tacoyo Jr., Jesus Bautista, Monaco Agustin, and Samson Pantaleon were questioning the number coding scheme. Formally known as the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, it is detailed in MMDA Memorandum Circular No. 08 and Resolution No. 10-16, Series of 2010.
This case was promulgated by the high court on Nov. 17, 2020. However, the decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was only made publicly available last June 11. According to the SC, the parties in the case should be bus franchisees or operators instead of the petitioners.
MMDA has a memorandum of agreement with bus operators wherein buses have partial exemption from the number coding scheme. The traffic scheme included passenger buses, which is what led to the case filing before the high court. As far as the SC is concerned, MMDA issuances don’t interfere with the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB)’s regulatory powers over public utility vehicles.
According to MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija, amid the pandemic, the number coding scheme remains suspended.