Tricycle Ban on Highway

On my own point-of-view, RA 7160 dictates that the Sanggunian can formulate an ordinance allowing tricycles to traverse major thoroughfares such as national highways, provided that there is no other alternative route within their jurisdiction.

Enforcing the ban on tricycles and pedicabs on highways and other main roads requires a large dose of political will and collective action among local government officials in the Philippines.

The DILG has released Memorandum Circular 2020 – 036 which bans tricycles, pedicabs, and motorized pedicabs from plying national highways. According to DILG Secretary Edgardo Año, the new M.C. is also part of the recent road clearing operations spearheaded by the agency.

RA 4136 was intended primarily as a safety measure to prevent vehicular accidents. As such, the law was tailored without necessarily taking into account the particularities of the transport situation in places like Puerto Princesa City that are completely reliant on tricycles as its main mode of public transport.

The deliberations on the crafting of the law indicate that it had been influenced mainly by the need to find solutions to Metro Manila’s particular situation, which is of course way different from the rest of the country.

A National group of tricycle operators and drivers is calling on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to review its order banning tricycles, pedicabs and motorized pedicabs from national highways and major roads.

Ariel Lim, president of the National Confederation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Nactodap), said the DILG has to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) first.

Some tricycles were holders of franchises from the city government and these covered routes that were previously classified as local roads but were, in recent years, converted into national roads.

Those that fail to follow the new M.C. will be warranted with a show-cause order. Failure to provide a sufficient response shall be ground for the filing of appropriate administrative cases pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code and other laws and policies. The MC also orders that the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help local leaders enforce the said ban.

Under the same M.C., the DILG also urged cities and municipalities to create a tricycle task force separate from the tricycle regulatory boards in order to formulate and review the tricycle route. The task force will be composed of the Mayor as chairman, the chief of police as vice chairman, and the Sanggunian committee chair on transportation or public safety, the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the head of the tricycle regulatory board, the head of the Department of Public Order and Safety, the planning and development officer, the head of the traffic management office, and the local government operations officer as members.

The installation of appropriate signages, marks for lanes and other safety features to guide all vehicles must also be detailed in the plan as well as create awareness among residents and motorists of new tricycle routes or portions of highways allowed to tricycles because of lack of alternative route; a color scheme or emblem for tricycles that ply a route traversing a national highway; and penalties for violators.

The plan should include a schematic map of the location of tricycle terminals, the national highways of the LGU and the portions thereof to be used by tricycles if there is no alternative route.

The task force is tasked to meet with stakeholders in order to rationalize all tricycle routes as a way to better enforce the ban, identify national roads within the jurisdiction of the LGU, and determine the present and proposed routes in a draft of a tricycle route plan (TRP) within 30 days from the issuance of the memorandum.

Councilors from the Municipality of Sibulan and the City of Dumaguete are hoping to strike a win-win solution to the issue of whether tricycles could ply the National Highway connecting Dumaguete and Sibulan.

In a joint session last Wednesday at the Dumaguete Session Hall, the two legislative bodies created a Technical Working Group to study the matter.

Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron appealed to the DoTr that the city be exempted from the rule.

City commuters decried the implementation of the trike ban along national roads in Puerto Princesa, pointing out its “inconvenience” to the public.

Netizens expressed their dismay on the escalating issue after the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) started to impose traffic violations against the tricycle on February 6 in the Barangay San Jose area.

While the law provides that the tricycles may pass by the national highway only when there is no alternate route, the Councilors said the Diversion Road that passes by barangays Magatas in Sibulan, and Camanjac and Pulangtubig in Dumaguete is too circuitous.

Some tricycle operators were slapped with fines for “obstruction along national highways”, which eventually led to fear for some to traverse the national roads.

Getting rid of the tricycles along the main roads is a testy problem, both from an urban planning perspective and from a political standpoint.

On one hand, there is no alternative immediately available for the commuting public if the tricycles are limited only to the secondary roads. The city’s road network system does not offer an easy alternative route that skirts the main roads which tricycles can utilize.

Perhaps more significantly for policymakers who are elected officials, the city’s transport sector is perceived to be politically powerful such that they can make or break political careers because of their block voting capacity during elections.

I read a recent report that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is reiterating its call to all city and municipal mayors to ban pedicabs and tricycles along national highways, whether in Metro Manila or in the provinces. Wow! Are they serious? Sure, ban them in urban centers like Metro Cebu or Metro Manila…but in the provinces too? 

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