The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the “transport caravan” staged Thursday by transport groups opposing the implementation of higher fines for operators of colorum vehicles had minimal effect to commuters.
Atty. Emerson Carlos, MMDA Assistant General Manager (AGM) for Operations said that around 1,200 commuters were stranded along Commonwealth, Edsa; Balintawak area, Quezon City; and Marcos Highway in Markina City.
But Carlos said MMDA deployed 500 personnel to assist the motorists and dispatched a total of 17 vehicles including buses and military trucks from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to ferry stranded passengers.
He added that it did not paralyze transportation in the metropolis and ended peacefully as no untoward incident was reported.
Carlos said 100 vehicles joined the transport caravan and took up one lane of East Avenue and Ortigas while other lanes were open to traffic.
The preparation of the Task Force on Transport Strike and Mass Actions (TRASMA) headed by the MMDA started before Thursday’s caravan with the NCRPO, AFP-NCRCom and other government agencies pledging to deploy additional policemen and personnel to ensure a peaceful gathering as well as vehicles to ferry any stranded commuters.
The Stop and Go Coalition, an umbrella organization of several transport operators, said the protest action was a “voluntary” transport protest.
The transport caravan assembled at the Quezon City Memorial Circle before proceeding to the offices of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) along East Avenue and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in Pasig City and ended at 1 p.m.
The transport caravan protested the DOTC-LTFRB Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01 or the “Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties for Violations of Laws, Rules and Regulations Governing Land Transportation.”
Under the order, franchise-less public utility jeepneys now stand to pay a fine of Php50,000.
Offenders using motorcycles stand to pay a Php 6,000; sedans, Php120,000; vans, Php200,000; trucks, Php200,000; and buses, up to Php1 million.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency expressed its support for the new penalties to be imposed on operators of colorum public utility vehicles (PUVs), stressing it was high time the government took a firm stance against PUVs operating without a franchise to ease traffic.
“We are behind the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on this one. A bigger penalty would mean fewer colorum vehicles on the road,” Tolentino said
On Wednesday, Tolentino said he will stick on the Php6,000 fine for operators of out-of-line and “colorum” vehicles.
Tolentino explained that there is no conflict because there is only one goal — to eradicate the colorum vehicles to help ease traffic congestion along the metropolis’ major thoroughfares.
”Walang conflict on higher or lower penalty dahil iisa lang ang layunin: to eradicate these colorum vehicles. Hindi siya mag-overlap kasi once na inaresto ng LTO (Land Transportation Office), hindi na aarestuhin ng MMDA,” the MMDA chief said.
Tolentino said the agency has its own implementing rules under Republic Act No. 7924 or the law creating the MMDA.
Section 3 of R.A. 7924 states that “the MMDA shall undertake and manage on its own metro-wide programs and projects for the delivery of specific services under its jurisdiction subject to the approval of the Council.”
Under the MMDA Regulation No. 97-004, it said that the operator or the owner of the out-of-line public utility jeepney (PUJ) shall be penalized with a fine of Php5,000 per violation and Php1,000 for the driver.
Tolentino also said the agency continues its campaign against colorum public utility vehicles (PUVs). PNA