City commuters decried the implementation of the trike ban along national roads in Puerto Princesa, pointing out its “inconvenience” to the public.
Netizens expressed their dismay on the escalating issue after the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) started to impose traffic violations against the tricycle on February 6 in the Barangay San Jose area.
“Dati from Libis to Manalo, isang trike lang, diretso na. Ngayon, tatlong sakay pa ako halos doble pamasahe,” one employee said.
“Basta-basta na lang manghuhuli hindi iniisip kaming publiko. Apuradong administrasyon nga,” another added, relating to the current administration’s slogan.
P/Maj. Ariel Abanto, HPG chief, said Friday that the implementation is long past due, citing that DILG assistant secretary Alberto Suansing gave the marching order during his last visit on January 27.
However, Jonathan Magay, City Traffic Management Office (CTMO) chief, on January 30 requested the implementation to be “put on hold” for a few days because they have yet to receive the guidelines of the national law.
Some tricycle operators were slapped with fines for “obstruction along national highways”, which eventually led to fear for some to traverse the national roads.
The HPG teams were previously seen posted at Barangays Irawan, San Jose, Tiniguiban, and San Pedro.
Peter Maristela, the transportation committee chairman, reacting to the “surprise operation”, requested the presence of the HPG and the LTO officials for questioning before the City Council.
Maristela to question implementation
Maristela, new transportation committee chairman chair, intends to question the validity of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) memorandum circular banning tricycles along national roads and reiterated that there is no law anchoring the said order.
In a one-on-one interview with Behind the News on Saturday morning, he said that court action to petition for a declaratory relief questioning the DILG’s order was one of the legal means available to stop its implementation.
“Walang Republic Act (RA) and the order was a mere guideline set by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) before to regulate the franchise,” he said.
Maristela, during his meeting with the tricycle operators and drivers associations (TODA) on Friday, advised the TODA representatives to hire lawyers that may bring the issue to the court if the city government declines to share the same position.
“If [we’re not backed up by the] majority of the councilors, and if mayor Bayron is not willing to take the position, the TODAs may file for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and petition declaratory relief to question the DILG order,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) started the implementation on Thursday which resulted to several tricycle drivers being fined for “obstruction along the national highway”.
Maristela said he was surprised to learn about the HPG operation and requested their presence on Monday’s Questioning Hour before the City Council.
“Nagulat kami nung nabalitaan namin ‘yan. Ipapatawag namin sila sa session upang bigyang linaw bakit nila ginawa ‘yon, despite knowing that the Council is on the process ng pag-gawa ng ordinansa,” he said.