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DOTr to sanction vehicle owners engaged in ‘economic sabotage’

/ 10:15 PM November 20, 2018

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday warned that sanctions will be imposed on vehicles proven to have contributed to “economic sabotage,” such as the participation of several truck groups in a “truck holiday” protest.

The DOTr stressed that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) “will not hesitate” to foist sanctions on “trucks with franchises and private vehicles.”

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The sanctions will be imposed if they are proven to have affected the “free flow of commerce to and from the Port of Manila by preventing and/or threatening the operations of trucking companies that are not supporting the protest.”

The transport agency noted that several trucks and private vehicles have obstructed the entrance to the Port Area on R10 Road in Tondo, Manila amid the six-day “truck holiday” protest.

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that even if the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has given assurances that the impact of the protest remains minimal, the “concerted disruption of the operations of trucking companies uninvolved in the protest is economic sabotage.”

READ: ‘Truck holiday’ on; gov’t belittles impact of protest

”We will observe maximum tolerance, but in no way should there be traffic disruption or congestion,” Tugade said.

“(The) best interest of public and business must be prioritized and served,” he added.

The DOTr noted that small and independent trucking companies are protesting the Department Order (DO) No. 2017-09, which reinforces the old DO 2002-030 “on the mandatory 15-year age limit for buses- and trucks-for hire covered by a certificate of public convenience.”

The DOTr and the LTFRB clarified that a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed  by various trucking organizations, including those who are participating in the protest, with the LTFRB and LTO.

Under the memorandum, trucking companies have agreed to secure the requirements for road worthiness and safety through the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

Through the MVIS, their trucks will become legally operational, including those units older than 15 years, during the transition period from June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2020, in compliance with DO 2017-09 and DO 2002-030.

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The DOTr mentioned that 40 Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) personnel are currently deployed in Port Area “to ensure that operations remain smooth.”

It also belied the claims of Aduana Business Club Inc. president Maria Zapata, who “falsely accused the government of devaluing road worthiness in the implementation of DO No. 2017-09.”

“This is UNTRUE, as the MOA signed (in) May this year explicitly requires compliance with road worthiness standards, and Ms. Zapata herself affixed her signature in the said agreement,” the DOTr said.

“Her agenda is unclear to transport officials, but the irrefutable fact remains (that) she signed the MOA that mandates trucks – regardless of year model – to pass the MVIS road worthiness test,” it added.

The transport agency said that together with its attached agencies, it remains steadfast in its pursuit to modernize the public transport industry and ensure public safety and environmental sustainability. /ee

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