The Department of Transportation warned that sanctions for economic sabotage will be imposed against the group of truckers which participated in a ‘‘truck holiday’’ to protest the phaseout of trucks that are more than 15 years old.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Land Transportation Office have threatened that sanctions will be imposed on trucks with franchises, and private vehicles that have disrupted the free flow of goods and services going to and from the Port of Manila by preventing the operations of those that did not participate in the protest action.
“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 released to the media late Tuesday.
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 said 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.
In the MOA, they committed 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 June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2020.
A group of truck operators is currently staging a six-day “Truckers Day of Rest” from Nov. 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 shipping companies.
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.