Economic sabotage: Tugade to punish truckers joining ‘truck holiday’
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) warned that trucker groups participating in a ‘truck holiday’ to protest the phaseout of old trucks would be charged with economic sabotage.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) have also warned against trucks with franchises, and private vehicles not to disrupt the flow of goods and services at the Port of Manila by preventing the operations of those that did not participate in the protest actions.
“We will observe maximum tolerance, but, in no way should there be traffic disruption or congestion. Best interest of public and business must be prioritized and served,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.
Tugade warned that efforts to disrupt the operations of trucking groups that are not involved in the truck holiday is a form of economic sabotage.
Around 40 personnel from the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) are currently deployed at the Port Area to ensure that the operations there remain smooth.
Several trucks were reportedly obstructing the entrance to the Port Area on R10 Road in Tondo, Manila.
The DOTr stressed that various trucking groups, including those that participated in the truck holiday, have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the LTFRB and the LTO last May.
They expressed their commitment to secure the requirements for road worthiness and safety, through the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS), to make their trucks legally operational, including those units older than 15 years, during the transition period from 30 June 2017 to 30 June 2020.
A group of truck operators is currently staging a six-day “Truckers Day of Rest” from November 19 to 24 in protest of Department Order 2017-09 that reinforced an earlier order issued in 2002, which mandates a 15-year age limit for public utility bus units or trucks for hire covered by a certificate of public convenience.
The Inland Haulers and Truckers Association said it will push through with the truck holiday unless the government halts the phaseout of old truck units and consider their roadworthiness instead. They said that the phaseout will result in the loss of livelihood of around 90 percent of small-scale truck operators while benefiting international
The DOTr has earlier said that the truck holiday will only cause minimal impact on port operations as it was not supported by major trucking organizations. (PNA)