A day after trucking companies rolled out a protest caravan outside his Manila office, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson on Friday called on the business community to support his agency by not hiring trucking services that violate regulations against overloading.
Appealing to their sense of “corporate social responsibility,” Singson said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was going after overloaded trucks because of the threat they pose to public safety and the damage they cause on the country’s road network.
“Our government is not after the collection of fines (as they are) not enough to repair the damage on highways, specially bridges, and (compensate for) the death and serious injuries” caused by the erring drivers and operators of these trucks, Singson said in a statement.
The Cabinet official made the appeal following the protest action staged by members of the Aduana Business Club Inc., a group of trucking companies opposing the implementation of a law imposing lower weight limits on their daily cargo. The measure was largely intended to reduce the damage caused by trucks on roads and bridges.
ABCI members on Thursday sent out a protest caravan of around 50 trucks, calling for a moratorium on the crackdown and complaining against DPWH enforcers who allegedly extort money from erring drivers.
The caravan choked traffic on Roxas Boulevard, prompting former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to intervene. Estrada later offered to arrange a dialogue between the group and the national agencies concerned, but warned ABCI not to disrupt traffic again or its members would be arrested.
According to Singson, the DPWH and the Department of Transportation and Communications had already modified the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act 8794, which penalizes overloading, after consultations with stakeholders.
To give more time for concerned truckers to upgrade their equipment and conform with the new load limits, the DPWH on Wednesday deferred the enforcement of the law for certain types of trucks until Jan. 31 next year.
But Singson said the maximum allowable axle load limit remains at 13,500 kilograms per axle. Philip C. Tubeza