IN a meeting arranged by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, leaders of Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Associations (TODAs) aired their concerns to concerned government officials regarding the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2020-036, which enforces the ban on tricycles from national highways.
Ismael “Ace” Sevilla, the President of the National Capital Region (NCR) TODA Coalition, requested the authorities to stop apprehending tricycle drivers while local government units (LGUs) have not yet enacted ordinances that allow tricycles to ply national highways in the absence of alternate routes.
In response, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año emphasized that pursuant to DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-036, it is mandatory for each LGU to craft or update its Tricycle Route Plan (TRP) within 30 days from the issuance of the Circular. The TRP shall then be the basis for the ordinance. DILG MC No. 2020-036 was issued last February 17.
Año also said that he will remind the city and municipal mayors anent the creation and activation of a task force to formulate or revise a TRP in their respective areas. Acknowledging that meetings, public consultations and hearings are required to come up with TRP, he will advise mayors to designate temporary tricycle lanes complete with signage, color codes and law enforcers to avoid accidents in national highways and major thoroughfares. Additionally, he intends to meet Philippine National Police (PNP) officials and other enforcers to discuss the subject.
“Ang permanent solution natin, dapat may permanent route ang ating tricycle. Ito ang tricycle lane. At dahil bawal sa national highway ang tricycle, ipo-propose natin sa national government na ang mga city na kaya naman ng kanilang pondo, gagawa talaga ng road parallel to the national highway,” Año added.
“Ang (Department of Public Works and Highways) naman meron namang allocated funds para diyan, so kailangan lang naman diyan nasa proseso kung papaano ipasok ‘yan sa Local Development Council at maisama sa Local Development Investment Program,” he explained.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said that tricycles and pedicabs should not be operating on national highways subject to exceptions provided in an ordinance if there is no alternative route. He stressed that a close coordination shall be made with DILG Sec. Año as regards any policy proposal to ensure safety of the general public.
Ariel Lim, the President of the National Confederation of Tricycle and Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (NACTODAP), mentioned the need for the passage of the Magna Carta for tricycle drivers and operators. The measure will simplify registration system, establish one-stop shop for tricycle operators and impose uniform set of requirements and reasonable fees applicable to all LGUs in relation to their power to regulate tricycles.
Go shared that he arranged the meeting after seeing complaints on social media accusing him of not doing anything for TODA members despite conducting a TODA Summit in January 2019.
“Parati kong sinasabi na hindi ako politiko na puro pangako. Ayokong mangako, ayoko na puro salita, ang gusto ko yung may gawa. Hindi ko istilo ang magbigay ng pangako, aksyon po ang ibibigay kong serbisyo sa inyo,” Go explained.
“Gagawin ko lahat ng pwede ko magawa para makatulong at makapagserbisyo. Magiging tulay ninyo ako sa Pangulo. Sabi ko, pwede niyo po akong lapitan anytime. Sisiguraduhin kong mabigyan kayo ng boses at mapakinggan ang inyong hinaing ng gobyernong ito,” Go said.
The senator explained that his continued engagement with tricycle drivers and operators helps him as a legislator in understanding the needs of communities since he regularly spends time with various TODA groups in his visits to fire victims in urban poor areas.
Go cited how his chance encounter with the NCR TODA Federation in 2018 led to the TODA Summit attended by the President to give tricycle drivers the venue to air their concerns.
He also explained that Sevilla organized the TODA Summit, which the senator assisted by coordinating with the DILG and DOTr, which sponsored the event.
“Willing po akong magpagitna, lalong-lalo na sa mga ganitong usapan, ganitong sitwasyon,” he added.
Go shared that he did a similar intervention in the case of Angkas, a motorcycle ride-hailing company. Go talked to the officials of the DOTr and other relevant government agencies so that the pilot testing of motorcycle taxis would continue until Congress is able to amend laws to regulate the use of the two-wheeled vehicles for public transport.
“Balansehin natin ang safety ng pasahero, ang gobyerno at ang sa pribado naman, ang mga tricycle drivers. Ayaw naman nating may mawalan ng trabaho,” he said at the meeting.
He also asked TODA members to understand the reason for the ban. “Intindihin naman natin. Siyempre ‘yung kay Secretary Año, public interest ang parati nilang pinaiiral.”
He assured them that he will respond promptly to requests for help. “Salamat at pinaunlakan niyo (ang imbitasyong dumalo dito sa meeting.) Iparating niyo lang po sa mga kasamahan ninyo na hindi namin kayo pinapabayaan.
“Paano ako tutulong kung di ko alam ang tulong na pwede kong gawin? Iparating niyo muna sa akin at handa po akong tumulong sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya,” Go reiterated.