Briones: Tricycle ban

Publio J. Briones III

OVER 50 years ago, the Philippines passed Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which bans tricycles and pedicabs from plying national roads.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), on several occasions, also issued several memoranda with a similar directive.

In its latest memorandum circular issued in February 2020, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called for the creation of a tricycle task force that is separate from tricycle regulatory boards to come up with alternative routes.

Año also ordered local government units (LGUs) around the country to strictly implement the ban.

Are we still on the same page? Let me do a double-take and start from the very beginning.

Tricycles and pedicabs are not allowed on the highway. These vehicles have not been allowed on the highway since the law was passed in 1964. The fact that tricycles and pedicabs continue to ply the highway means that the LGUs and government agencies concerned have looked the other way.

It’s a blatant violation of the law, which many have chosen to overlook because of the lack of alternatives.

As National Confederation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Nactodap) president Ariel Lim pointed out, many public schools, markets and churches are located along the highway. For majority of the people who don’t have their own vehicles, the only way to get to these places is to take tricycles or pedicabs.

Of course, they can always walk.

Yeah, I know, we live in the tropics and it’s either too hot or it’s raining, but that’s what umbrellas are for, or, if you’ve gone native, straw hats.

Walking is actually healthier and I highly recommend it to everyone, but not everyone can walk. Even when they can, you can’t force them if they don’t want to. Also, walking requires people to actually plan beforehand. And we all know Filipinos love to leave things at the very last minute.

Given this scenario, students will be late for classes, marketgoers will have a hard time carrying their purchases back home and the faithful will miss the priest’s homily.

Which is why Lim said they will file a temporary restraining order against the DILG ban. It’s not only because his group wants to save its members’ livelihoods, he said, it’s because they’re also worried about their passengers.

Of course. It’s so nice to see people who still care for public welfare.

Mind you, Lim was quick to clarify that Nactodap was not against the ban, it just needed more time to comply with the DILG order. Six months. That was all the time they needed, he said.

Well, if they couldn’t do it in the last 50 years, I’d doubt they could do it in six months.