Trike drivers vow to fight highway ban

Tricycle drivers are appealing to the City government to defer plans to prevent them from using the national highway and the city’s main roads, saying the move will impact the livelihood of many families who are dependent on tricycles.

As the city government prepares to hold a public hearing on Friday to implement a Department of Transportation (DOTr) memorandum banning tricycles on national highways, several groups of public utility drivers vowed to resist the move.

“Kung ipipilit nila na tanggalin kami, talagang may mangyayaring strike. Siyempre ipaglalaban naming ‘yan kung saan aabot ‘yung mga hinaing namin,” Reynaldo Recla, a tricycle driver, said.

“Papaano naman ang mga pamilya namin kung tatanggalin kami diyan? Hindi naman kami puwedeng magnakaw, krimen ‘yun,” Recla said.

“Kung sino ang magpapasa niyan, maapektuhan. Siyempre ang isang makakalaban nila diyan ay kaming mga driver. Kasi hindi naman kami salot. Nakakatulong kami sa mga estudyante at turista. Pabor lang ‘yan sa mga mayayaman, pero sa mga mahihirap hindi,”  Recla added.

City Councilor Rodolfo Amurao, chair of the public transportation committee, assured tricycle drivers they will not be displaced from their livelihood as they will be still be allowed to operate on city roads.

“The operation of tricycles would be confined on city and municipal roads and not along highways. ‘Yun and department order na lumabas,” Amurao said.

He was referring to a memorandum recently received by the City government reminding them of a standing national policy against tricycles on national highways.

“Hindi naman sila mamamatay. Andiyan pa din naman sila sa kalsada, sa mga kanto-kanto. Kung mapu-push ito, makakatulong din sa kanila. Kasi sila din apektado ng traffic,” Amurao added.

He added that the department order also contains a directive addressed to all public utility vehicles (PUVs) particularly public buses, shuttle vans, multicabs and motorcycles prioritizing them in the use of main roads and highways.

The order, he explained, is requesting the city government to develop a localized public transport route plan. The order also covers a “hierarchy” of vehicles that would be allowed to ply along the highways and central roads.

The measure, Amurao added, is also intended to ease vehicle traffic on central roads.

“Kasi dapat ma-identify ‘yung capacity ng kalsada. Kung maliit ang kalsada mo, bawasan mo ‘yung sasakyan. Dapat ire-route sila kasi kung ang capacity mo, sabihin natin 200 pero ang tumatakbo 400 dapat ire-route natin ‘yung 200. Magbabawas tayo ng sasakyan,” said Amurao.

Rodolfo Bantog, 66, president of BM Kantoda, said that the implementation of the tricycle ban will negate the city’s issuance of franchises and licenses.

“Kung ayaw naman ng karamihan, para sa akin mas magandang huwag na muna ipatupad. Kasi ano pang silbi ng franchise kung hindi ka makaka-biyahe papuntang bayan?” Bantog said.

The department order was based on an existing national policy issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in 2007, stating that tricycles and pedicabs are not allowed to operate on national highways and main roads of all provincial cities and municipalities throughout the country.

Amurao said that public consultation will be held on Friday, 2pm at the Mendoza Park.

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