Joseph Abeleda
Joseph AbeledaOctober 27, 2010 at 3:14am
Subject: FARE HIKE: Last resort of transport groups.
The Supreme Court’s lifting of the restraining order on the implementation of the 250% toll increase has sent us, leaders and operators of various transportation groups, to the drawing board to discuss and determine the amount we would ask from the LTFRB to compensate for the toll adjustments.

The moment the three toll road operators start implementing the new toll rates, we will have no other recourse that to IMMEDIATELY FILE A FARE HIKE PETITION before the LTFRB.

The effects of the new SLEX fees are worse than the devastating effects of supertyphoon “Juan,” which stayed in the country for only a few hours, but brought no more further damages after it left. On the other hand, the toll fee hikes will last for years, and it will have a long-term adverse economic impact on the small traders and workers that depend on the transportation industry for a living.

The SC ruling is an additional burden to PUV operators and drivers, as well as to private vehicle owners, commuters and consumers: Transportation fares will increase. And prices of goods and commodities passing through the SLEX and NLEX are expected to go up, too.

The transport sector is already down. Drivers and operators are struggling desperately for survival, living on a hand-to-mouth existence. Yet, our meager incomes are still being shared by vultures.
Kotong and colorum are still very much alive because of the direct participation and involvement of persons who are supposed to enforce the law: PNP members operate colorum vehicles; LGU traffic enforcers turn a blind eye on violators. PNP collects payola as protection money from colorum operators who make use of the streets as terminals, right under the noses of traffic enforcers. These officers and gentlemen (?) have no respect for the law. They make ordinary citizens as milking cows. Ang batas, ginagawang gatasan.

The single-ticketing system has not been resolved yet. LGUs continue in the issuance of their own Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR), defying the provisions of R.A 7924. Our petition, questioning the authority of the LGUs to enact their own traffic laws that supersede RA 4136 is now pending at the Court of Appeals, which we believe, after five or more years, has been sitting on it.

When a driver’s license is confiscated through OVR, and whenever the same driver is apprehended by an MMDA enforcer, he would then be cited for “failure to carry license” because the agency only recognizes the TVR as a temporary driver’s license.

For the collected fines, 20% and 5% incentives are given to enforcers and Traffic Enforcement Units respectively, which is another load for the drivers. Traffic enforcers thus become bent on issuing OVR to erring drivers even when their violation is so minor that requires a mere verbal warning.

The five percent (5%) incentive offered to the TEU does not really go to the traffic enforcement unit concerned, but it goes to the Head of the TEU. Thus, the head concerned forces his men or enforcers to meet a 10-apprehension quota per day, to increase his own incentive, to the detriment of the drivers.

The Supreme Court, in its en banc decision, G.R. No. 102782, December 11, 1991, has enjoined all law enforcement authorities in Metropolitan Manila from removing license plates of motor vehicles (except when authorized under LOI 43) and confiscating drive licenses for traffic violation within the said area. Yet, each LGU still allows confiscation of driver’s licenses, in defiance to the said order.
The DOTC and LTO, instead of opposing LGUs, have even adopted the exorbitant fines and penalties being collected by the latter. The principal thus vows out to its agents.

For the case of government funding with regard to modernization, repowering and rehabilitation program, it is clear that there is already a Php500M budget allotted by MVUC facilitated by the Road Board to help implement the Clean Air Act and was already released dated August 9, 2009 by the DBM. How come it is being hold by the DOTC when in fact, the documents required are all submitted?
Daily, the problems of the transport sector nationwide are mounting up. Yet, not one of these problems has been addressed by the government. Kotong and Colorum, for example has been overshadowed by the Jueteng issue. As if these are not enough, the government puts another load on our shoulders, we who do nothing than help propel the country’s economy by bringing people and goods to their desired destination.

This might be the last straw that can break the transportation’s back. So, expect a series of petition—or even a transport holiday—to make our voices be heard by concerned authorities