Truckers stage protest vs NLEX toll hike
Around 100 truckers from Central Luzon on Friday morning barricaded a portion of Anda Circle leading to Bonifacio Drive in Manila—an area close to the port—in a lightning rally protesting the increased toll rates on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).
The Manila police allowed the truckers about 30 minutes to hold their demonstration before ordering them to leave, since they did not have a rally permit.
The truckers, led by the Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (Actoo), assailed the toll hikes for being “unjustifiable and unfair,” citing their “worsening conditions” brought by inflation.
They said the increases imposed by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) were contrary to the government’s order for transportation agencies to help reduce costs for logistics workers.
They demanded that the board scrap the toll increases, while also noting the “poor service” and “road quality” of the expressways operated by NLEx Corp. “[The TRB and NLEx] are not talking to us. We are open [to a dialogue on] our request to stop the implementation of the toll fee hikes because the trucking industry is still recovering from the pandemic,” Actoo president Connie Tinio said in a speech during the rally.
Tinio said Actoo sent the TRB a letter on July 14 requesting a meeting—which she said the board ignored.
On June 15, NLEx Corp. set the following new rates for motorists coming from Metro Manila to Marilao, Bulacan: P7 for Class 1 vehicles (motorcycles, cars, vans and jeepneys); P17 for Class 2 vehicles (buses and trucks with two axles and a maximum height of 7.5 feet); and P19 for Class 3 vehicles (trucks with three or more axles and a height of more than 7.5 feet).
Motorists coming from Metro Manila to Mabalacat City, Pampanga, are charged P33 for Class 1 vehicles, P81 for Class 2 vehicles and P98 for Class 3 vehicles.
In response to Friday’s protest action, the TRB said it would ask NLEx Corp. to temporarily waive the new fees for trucks carrying agricultural products.
The board denied Actoo’s claim that it ignored the group’s letter.
“Our response to their letter regarding their objection to the NLEx toll increase is our advice that they file a petition for review in accordance with our laws, rules and processes, and in accordance with our rules and regulations for that matter, our 2013 rules,” said TRB spokesperson Julius Corpuz.
He added that the TRB had a notice about the toll increases published three times in a newspaper, to give the truckers enough time to file a counterpetition.
NLEx Corp. was sought for comment but had yet to reply as of this reporting.
Friday’s protest action brought traffic at Anda Circle to a standstill.
“There will be many more actions after this and it will get bigger and bigger,” Tinio said. “There will be other activities until we reach our biggest and main event.”