The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is ready to face the National Confederation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (NACTODAP) in court in the face of reports that it has filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against Memorandum Circular No. 2020-036 which enforces the ban on tricycles from national highways.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the DILG is only enforcing the law that was enacted way back in the 1960s and that the MC he issued is based on sound legal footing.
“We are prohibiting tricycles, pedicabs, and motorized pedicabs from plying national highways for the safety of drivers and commuters. It is also to decongest the traffic situation in many parts of the country where tricycles have been tolerated in national roads for the longest time by LGUs,” he said.
He clarified, however, that in the absence of an alternative route, the LGU may enact an ordinance allowing tricycles to ply national roads but subject to guidelines issued by the DILG. “The MC does not ban legally franchised tricycles from operating kaya hindi po mawawalan ng hanapbuhay ang mga drayber ng tricycles," Año said.
"Tinitiyak lamang po ng Kagawaran at ng pamahalaan ang kaligtasan nila at ng kanilang mga pasahero. Isa rin po itong paraan para maibsan ang mabigat na daloy ng trapiko sa national highways."
The Secretary also refuted claims by some sectors that the MC is pro-rich. “Our MC is neither pro-rich nor pro-poor. It is neutral because it serves all sectors, whether rich or poor. We want to keep everyone safe in our national roads and decongest the worsening traffic situation,” he said.
He argued that the ban would force the LGUs to look after the welfare of tricycle drivers and their passengers by establishing safe and suitable tricycle routes in their communities without endangering their lives and causing inconvenience to motorists.
“MC 2020-036 requires all LGUs to enact their Tricycle Route Plan so that the routes of tricycles are rationalized to keep them away from national highways. But if there is no alternate route, the same maybe allowed through an ordinance,” he said.
Circular merely enforces the law
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the DILG was merely doing its job when it issued the MC to provide implementing guidelines to LGUs based on the provisions of law. “We have to act now. Based on the report of the PNP, there were 1,817 road accidents involving tricycles last year alone,” he said.
“Under the Local Government Code (LGC), the power to regulate the operations of tricycles or pedicabs within their territorial jurisdiction has been delegated to the LGUs but this devolved function is subject to the guidelines prescribed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr),” he said.
The DOTC's "Guidelines to Implement the Devolution of LTFRB's Franchising Over Tricycles-For-Hire to LGUs Pursuant to the LGC," he said, prohibited the operations of tricycles along national highways.
The DOTC guidelines states, ”For safety reasons, no tricycles should start operation on national highways utilized by four-wheel vehicles greater than four tons and where normal speed exceeds 40 kph. However, a Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panlungsod may provide exceptions if there is no alternative route.”
Malaya said that the DOTR’s guidelines were upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2000 in the case Land Transportation Office vs. the City of Butuan where the High Court ruled that “The devolution of the functions of the DOTC, performed by the LTFRB, to the LGUs, as so aptly observed by the Solicitor General, is aimed at curbing the alarming increase of accidents in national highways involving tricycles.”
“There is already prevailing jurisprudence here. All we need to do now is to implement the law. Execute the law. And that is what the DILG is doing. We understand the concerns of our TODAs but we stand by our position and we are ready to face all the complainants in the court of law where we will argue our case,” he said.