The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, recommended over the weekend the postponement of the implementation of Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2014-01 which increased the fines and penalties for colorum public utility vehicles (PUV) and other traffic violations.
The move is seen to lead to a shortage in trucks, aggravating the ill effects of the port congestion in Manila seen to be caused by the daytime Manila truck ban. The PCCI claimed that the congestion has led to higher truck rates, a container pileup in Manila’s ports, and delays in shipment deliveries.
JAO 2014-01, issued by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on June 2, provides stiffer fines and the revocation of the registration of apprehended vehicles and all other authorized units included in the franchise of the PUV operator.
While the effects of the congestion in the port of Manila has somewhat eased because of the opening of 24/7 express lanes on certain Manila roads, transport stakeholders project that the situation in the ports could still take months to normalize.
PCCI president Alfredo Yao explained that the organization is not positioning against the intent of JAO 2014-01 to ensure road discipline and safety for the public.
Instead, he cautioned that the timing of the implementation of the new rules would have adverse effects on businesses.
“We have not yet recovered from losses caused by delivery delays, disruptions in our business and additional costs that resulted from the port congestion. We need some more time to address this issue first before the full implementation of JAO. Otherwise, we are afraid that there will be no more goods to sell in the markets if trucks and similar vehicles to move goods are prevented from doing so at this time,” Yao explained.
“We hope that government grants our request to defer the implementation. This problem of truck shortage will especially be acute for perishable commodities for consumption or as raw materials in production,” Yao said.
Confiscated car plates piling up
Meanwhile, more than 16,000 car plates, which were confiscated from colorum and traffic violators, are now piling up at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
According to MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino, they can even construct a small bridge out of the voluminous car plates.
“Imagine we have 16,000 car plates. We can even make a small bridge out of them,” he told the agency’s weekly radio program.
He said the agency is set to show to the public this week the 16,000 car plates since their owners did not redeem them.
“I want to show these car plates because we don’t have any place to keep them,” he added.
The move by the MMDA chief is intended to prove that their traffic enforcers are effective in apprehending traffic violators as well as colorum vehicles.
“The voluminous car plates will prove that our personnel are really working hard to apprehend traffic violators,” he said.
Tolentino was reacting to reports that MMDA traffic constables were not included in the composite team that will go after colorum vehicles.
He expressed belief that the agency’s crackdown against colorum vehicles is more “doable because we have more traffic enforcers compared to that of Land Transportation Office and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board even though we are not deputized.”
He also said that the agency has its own regulation against colorum vehicles.
Under the agency’s regulation 97-004, Tolentino said they have the authority to impose penalties for violators of colorum and out of line operation in the metropolis.
However, Tolentino has expressed support to the implementation of JAO 2014-01.
Under the JAO, colorum bus operators will be fined P1 million; truck and van operators, P200,000; sedan operators, P120,000; jeepney owners, P50,000; and motorcycle operators, P6,000.