The City Council’s transportation committee is set to identify which national roads in Puerto Princesa have alternate routes before the implementation of the tricycle ban.
Councilor Elgin Damasco, chair of the committee, said to Palawan News that identifying the backup alignments for national highways in Puerto Princesa is necessary before the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circulars 2007-01 and 2011-68 can be implemented as ordered.
Damasco said that based on the circulars, tricycles may be allowed to remain on the national highway if they have no alternate routes, like in the case of those servicing Barangay Sicsican to Abanico and the Jesus Is Lord areas through the South National Highway.
“Kapag na-identify na ang mga walang alternate route ay gagawa ng batas ang sanggunian [kung puwede silang manatili]. Pero kung walang magawang batas ay susundin talaga ang sinasabi ng DILG. Kapag wala kaming ginawa dito, puwede rin kaming matanggal for dereliction of duty. Kapag hindi mo ito susundin ay anong mangyayari? Katulad sa ibang mayor na nakasuhan dahil hindi sumunod sa directive ng DILG national,” Damasco said.
He said that based on the letter dated January 10 signed by City DILG acting director Virgilio Tagle, the memorandum circular issued on May 9, 2011, banning tricycles and pedicabs from the national roads must already be implemented in the city.
Tricycles and pedicabs, Damasco reiterated, will only be exempted from the ban if they have no alternate roads.
“May order na si DILG Tagle kay mayor (Lucilo Bayron) na ipatupad na ang tricycle and pedicab ban sa national highways. Hindi lang ‘yan galing sa akin kundi sa DILG mismo. Ang memorandum circular ay hindi pa rin napapatupad hanggang ngayon pero kailangan pa rin pag-aralan ito kasi nakalagay naman dito na kapag walang alternate route ay puwede silang payagan [na manatili],” Damasco said.
Damasco appealed for understanding from tricycle drivers and operators regarding the implementation of the ban as it is a national government policy.
He said the city government must not also be blamed for opening the discussion again because it was an order from the DILG that must be followed. But Damasco said he will stand with the will of the majority.
“Dapat maintindihan ito ng operators and drivers na galing ito sa DILG mismo hindi sa amin. May order na nanggaling sa national kaya inuutusan na nga ang ating mayor na ipatupad na. Pero ilalaban pa rin natin ito kasi titingnan natin ang sitwasyon ng mga tricycle operators and drivers,” he said.
“Ngunit hindi natin puwedeng isawalang bahala ito dahil kailangang pag-usapan. Kailangan magkaroon ng public consultations para malaman natin kung ano ang masasabi nila dito. Hindi naman palibhasa mayroon nito ay agad-agad na. Idadaanan pa rin sa tamang proceso. Gusto lang namin na maintindihan nila na hindi kami ang nag-utos o gumawa nito,” Damasco added.
On January 18, a public consultation has been scheduled by the City Council transportation committee at the City Coliseum.
Damasco said the public, even the commuters, are encouraged to attend to air their side regarding the matter.