CEBU, Philippines – The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide-Cebu (PISTON-Cebu) challenged Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes to consult with thousands of tricycle drivers and operators before imposing a re-rerouting program and new policies.
“Dugay nang yangungo sa mga drayber ug opereytor ang kining duha ka ordinansa sa LGU tungod kay wala kini miagi og konsultasyon ug naghulga lang kini sa atong panginabuhian,” Greg Perez, chairperson of PISTON-Cebu, said in a statement.
(Drivers and operators have been protesting these two LGU ordinances for a long time because they did not go through consultation and they only threaten livelihoods.)
The transport group was referring to City Ordinance No. 15-2020-1499 and City Ordinance No. 15-2021-1625, also known as the TEAM Clearance Ordinance of 2020, and the New Tricycle Route Plan (TRP) of Mandaue, respectively.
The group claimed the rerouting could take away a fourth of their original service areas and slash tricycle drivers’ income by more than half, to only earn P300 per day from the usual P2,000.
The group requested a meeting with the mayor on Tuesday, October 4, but Cortes had prior commitments, according to his executive secretary John Eddu Ibañez.
Mandaue City Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, chairman of the Committee on Transportation, attended the meeting on the mayor’s behalf.
He told Rappler on Wednesday, October 5, that the city government had consulted with drivers and operators in the formulation and implementation of the ordinances.
City Ordinance No. 15-2020-1499 requires all drivers of public utility jeepneys (PUJs), tricycles-for-hire, taxis, transportation network service vehicles (TNVS), and all other transportation systems to secure a P100 clearance permit from the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM).
Any driver of a public utility vehicle who does not have a TEAM clearance on apprehension for a traffic violation faces an additional P500 administrative fine.
“The reason I created this ordinance was because of taxi drivers, and PUJ drivers who get issued a citation ticket and then, just crumple the paper right in front of traffic enforcers,” Lumapas said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
He explained that the council needed to act quickly and implement the ordinance since the city was a gateway to the north and Lapu-Lapu City. Cortes approved the ordinance on January 29, 2020.
Mandaue City is located between Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City and connects the northern part of the province to the south through the Central Nautical Highway.
In 2017, the city recorded its highest vehicle count at 377,778 in a day.
“If we don’t impose traffic discipline, it would be horrible. Actually, the TEAM issues an average of 600 citation tickets every day,” Lumapas added.
Responding to PISTON-Cebu’s statement slamming the inclusion of habal-habal (motor taxi) drivers and operators in the ordinance, Lumapas told Rappler in a text message that only habal-habal drivers of transport company Angkas would fall under the scope of the ordinance.
Lumapas said that the payments for the penalties of traffic violations would form part of the TEAM’s revenue, which will all go to its trust fund.
The transport group argued that the fines were already excessive as there were already existing administrative fines not limited to the TEAM Clearance Ordinance.
The group said collectively, administrative fines could reach P5,000 in contrast to the P1,000 to P1,500 average daily income of public utility drivers pre-pandemic.
The group urged the city government to waive penalties beyond the prescription period of two months, adjust administrative fines to lower rates, and put more focus on information campaigns on traffic systems and regulations.
Lumapas, for his part, reassured the group that there would be considerations and that drivers can settle their fines through installment payments.
Tricycle route plan
In a separate position paper, the transport group called out the city government for not providing an alternative route that could ensure steady income for tricycle drivers.
“What actually happened was that they merely shortened the drivers’ routes. They altered their points of origin and points of destination,” the position paper read.
Below are the route zones based on the updated TRP:
- Route Zone 1 (RED) – Pagsabungan, Canduman, Casuntingan, Cabancalan, Maguikay, Tabok, Tingub
- Route Zone 2 (BLUE) – Paknaan, Labogon
- Route Zone 3 (GRAY) – Alang-Alang, Ibabao, Umapad, Opao, Looc, Cambaro, Centro
- Route Zone 4 (YELLOW) – Banilad, Bakilid, Tipolo
- Route Zone 5 (ORANGE) – Casili, Cubacub, Tawason
The same plan was approved by the members of the Tricycle-For-Hire Franchising Regulatory Board on May 22, 2020. The ordinance was approved by Cortes on March 10, 2021.
Perez, in a phone interview, said the new routes would drastically slash drivers’ incomes.
PISTON-CEBU pleaded with the city government to allow the drivers to still access the national highway.
“We’re just following what’s in the law nga ang tricycle dili na gyud pwede muagi sa (are not allowed to pass through) national road,” Lumapas said, recommending that PISTON address their petition to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Under DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-036, tricycles are not allowed to operate on national highways used by 4-wheel vehicles greater than 4 tons and where normal speed exceeds 40 kph. –Rappler.com