City Councilor Peter “Jimbo” Maristela is pushing for additional routes for tricycles and three-wheeled vehicles on the National Highway in Puerto Princesa, citing recent guidelines from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Through a proposed ordinance that seeks to amend City Ordinance No. 1043, additional routes include passage from the port area to Junction 1 on Rizal Avenue, Junction 1 to Barangay Sta. Lourdes, and Abanico Road to the Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP).
Maristela said he decided to create the ordinance because the DILG recently issued a memorandum allowing local government units (LGUs), through their legislative bodies, to issue exemptions on tricycle routes, especially in areas where tricycle routes are limited.
“Noong nakaraang Lunes, ako ay nakatanggap ng isang patnubay mula sa DILG, na nagsasabi kung paano papayagan ang mga tricycle sa national highway. Malinaw na nakalagay doon, ‘hangga’t maaari,’ ay hindi pinapayagan ang mga tricycle sa national highway. Sa words na ‘hangga’t maaari,’ ibig sabihin, pupuwede, kung walang alternate route at kakaunti lamang ang road network, na nakikita natin sa Puerto Princesa,” Maristela said in an interview on Monday.
“Alam natin lahat, hindi sapat ang mga alternate route para sa ating mga tricycle, para rin sa convenience ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.
Maristela added that tricycle associations in Barangays San Miguel and San Pedro also raised the concern of having to pass by the National Highway to get to the Puerto Princesa City International Airport to drop off passengers.
The DILG memorandum, dated August 26, 2021, states that tricycles must still comply with traffic rules, such as only passing through outmost lanes, if their LGUs will allow them to pass on national roads and highways.
The proposed ordinance will still undergo public consultation and concurrence from other city councilors. Maristela said he hopes other councilors will support the ordinance.
“Hopefully, maging positive naman, lalo na nakakaintindi naman ang mga kasamahan nating konsehal,” he said.
Late last year, the city government implemented the tricycle ban to comply with the transport law banning tricycles and three-wheeled vehicles along national roads and highways. While the ban has long been in the pipeline and went through public consultation, many decried the ban as untimely and adding additional burden to both commuters and tricycle drivers amidst the COVID-19 crisis.