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The newly designated chair of the City Council’s transport committee has vowed to find ways to allow the city’s tricycles back on the national highways.

Councilor Nesario G. Awat said he believes there is a way around the existing ban imposed by the national government that he said has been an economic burden to tricycle drivers.

He noted that the existing ban is being implemented only through a joint memorandum circular of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Transportation (DoTr), and is not strictly a law to be followed.

“In my study, yung talagang binabanggit ay hindi naman talaga batas na nagsasabing bawal yung tricycle (sa national highway). Ito ay nangyari lamang na nagkaroon ng prohibition because of the joint circular ng DILG at ng DoTr. But unfortunately, yung joint memorandum circular ay hindi pa nare-revoke or even amended so yun siguro yung iwo-workout natin kasi ito ay isang kautusan mula sa national government at naniniwala tayo, as far as the city of Puerto Princesa and probably other LGUs, ito yung problema na dapat ay mabigyan ng solusyon,” Awat said.

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“Unang-una, kailangan makipag-usap tayo sa kanila. Naniniwala tayo na dapat ang gobyerno ay may tinatawag na pagtatanong, partisipasyon ng mga apektado at yan ay ang mga tricycle at jeepney drivers, at lahat ng mga kasama natin na gumagamit ng lansangan. In other words we have to involve the public in terms of what we will do, how we will address the problem of the tricycle drivers. So more on operation nila ang kailangan natin, at of course yung kanilang recommendation that will be the solution to that problems,” he added.

Aside from the plight of tricycle drivers, he said he is also taking into consideration the phase out of multicabs to be replaced by minibuses as planned by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

He expressed hope that the livelihood ordinance he has been proposing since his first two terms will be passed this time because he now chairs the Committee on Livelihood and Cooperatives. Through the ordinance, he said qualified organizations and cooperatives, such as those of multicab drivers and operators, may avail of a loan package for additional assistance, adding that one of the main problems in the city is employment and livelihood, or even small businesses for the citizens.

He also explained that while the (livelihood) ordinance can be used by anybody, cooperatives will be prioritized.

“Alam naman natin, ang city government ay may kakayahan para tumulong at magbigay ng suporta para sa ating mga tricycle drivers at jeepney drivers. Kung kaya nga’t nakikita natin, once na nagkaroon tayo ng isang malawakang konsultasyon, open naman tayo kung magbibigay sila ng kanilang mga recommendation para nang sa gayon ay magkaroon ng legislative action ang Sangguniang Panlungsod na kung saan ay sa pamamagitan committee natin ay magkaroon ng appropriation in terms of supporting itong mga needed financial support,” he said.

“At naniniwala tayo na ang city government ay may capacity, considering yung Mandanas doctrine, kung saan ay nag-increase yung budget, I think if I’m not mistaken, ng more than P1.3 billion for the year 2022, and hoping na ito ay available pa rin for the year 2023. And with that, siguro ay hindi naman in terms of legislation, I will address their problem,” he added.

Awat also stated that considering the skyrocketing prices of fuel, he is open should there be a demand for an increase in minimum fare, but it should be reasonable enough, and the possibility of giving subsidies to drivers.

“If that is the output of the committee, then most likely we will adopt kung ano yung gagawin ng LTFRB na pagbibigay ng subsidy sa mga drivers at kung yun ang kinakailangan, then we will push for that na magkaroon din ng subsidy yung city government sa mga drivers,” he said.

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