Group asks DILG to review tricycle ban on highways

A NATIONAL group of tricycle operators and drivers is calling on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to review its order banning tricycles, pedicabs and motorized pedicabs from national highways and major roads.

Ariel Lim, president of the National Confederation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Nactodap), said the DILG has to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) first.

“To ban tricycles on national highways, they should first ask the permission of local government units and not threaten their chief executives to be sanctioned for failure to form a task force,” said Lim.

He cited Republic Act (RA) 7160, known as the Local Government Code, which states that in the absence of alternative routes, local government units can create an ordinance allowing tricycles and pedicabs to ply national thoroughfares.

RA 7160 dictates that the Sanggunian can formulate an ordinance allowing tricycles to traverse major thoroughfares such as national highways, provided that there is no other alternative route within their jurisdiction.

According to Lim, tricycle operators and drivers are high tax payers in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) through the road users tax as they have around 1.7 million units of tricycles that ply all over the nation.

“They want us out of the highway? Why is there a lane for bicycles which do not even pay for taxes? They should have given us a lane on the outer right side on both lanes,” said Lim.

The group also want the DILG to explain why it did not consult them, considering that tricycle drivers and operators are directly affected by the order.

“These people have not gone to school. They don’t aim to be rich. They just want to provide for their families,” said Lim.

Nactodap is asking Congress and the Senate to meet with the DILG Secretary Eduardo Año as well as the PNP (Philippine National Police) Highway Patrol Group.

Furthermore, they plan to file a temporary restraining order (TRO) and organize a nationwide strike to protest the decision of the DILG.

In a separate development, officials of the Talisay City government said they have not yet implemented the ban on tricycles and pedicabs along major thoroughfares.

Jonathan Tumulak, City of Talisay Traffic Operation Development Authority (CT-Toda) chief, said they couldn’t implement it for now because they are still in the process of conducting consultations with the city’s tricycle drivers that could be affected by the DILG order.

Tumulak said that as of Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, they had already met 10 tricycle associations in the city and briefed them about the DILG’s order that prohibits them from crossing the national highway and other major roads in the city.

Tumulak admitted it was not easy talking to tricycle drivers because some of them are not receptive to the idea.

Earlier this week, Secretary Año issued an order to all local chief executives to strictly implement the ban on tricycles and pedicabs from crossing national highways and other major thoroughfares.

He also ordered local chief executives to create their own tricycle task force and come up with a route plan for tricycles affected by the ban.

Meanwhile, in Lapu-Lapu City, local officials are contemplating on implementing a “color coding scheme” for tricycles and pedicabs plying the city’s streets.

The proposed scheme would serve as a temporary solution for the City in implementing the DILG’s order banning tricycles and pedicabs along major thoroughfares.

In an interview, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan admitted there are still tricycles in the city that continue to ply the national highway as there are no other routes to other barangays.

In Barangay Basak, tricycle drivers there often use M. Patalinghug Avenue, a major road in the city, in going toward the public market in Barangay Poblacion and vice versa.

Chan said the color coding scheme aims to recognize tricycles driving in various routes across the city and will allow them to easily identify those who deviate from their routes.

Chan said one factor that worsens the traffic situation in the city is that tricycles depart from their regular routes.

For Mario Napule, head of the City Traffic Management System, the color coding scheme is being studied to help manage tricycles traveling around the city.

Napule said if it is implemented strictly, tricycles will no longer be allowed to use the “hatod-hatod” system, or the practice of getting passengers in other routes, and will confine them to barangay roads.

Napule said around 3,500 tricycles are operating in mainland Lapu-Lapu City. (USJ-R intern Mae Fhel Gom-os / FMD / FVQ)