Truckers and other trucking groups that joined the recent 'truck holiday' protest may receive stiff penalties for causing delays in transportation of goods and services.

In a press statement released by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the government agency warned that anyone who is found to have joined the recent protest could face sanctions for causing economic sabotage.

Together with the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Land Transporation Office (LTO), the two agencies will not hesitate on imposing sanctions on truck franchises and private vehicles that disrupted the flow of commerce to and from the Port of Manila.

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”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,” said Arthur Tugade, DOTr Secretary.

In review, the protesting group of truck companies are lambasting Department Order (DO) No. 2017-09. It reinforces the old DO No. 2002-030 on the mandatory 15-year age limit for buses and trucks-for-hire covered by a certificate of public convenience.

Both the DOTr and LTFRB wish to emphasize that trucking organizations, including those that are currently protesting, have already signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the LTFRB and LTO last May 15, 2018.

Under the said MOA, all trucking organizations involved have to secure the requirements needed for road worthiness and safety through the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) in order to make their trucks legal to operate. Also included are trucks that are older than 15 years which are part of the transition period from June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2020; in compliance with DO 2017-09 and DO 2002-030.

One of the signatories of the MOA was Maria B. Zapata, president of the Aduana Business Club, Inc. In recent media reports, she falsely accused the government of undervaluing road worthiness in the implementation of DO No. 2017-09. The DOTr reiterates that this is untrue, as the MOA signed May of this year explicitly requires compliance with road worthiness standards, with Ms. Zapata herself affixed her signature in the said agreement.

Her agenda is unclear to transport officials, but the irrefutable fact remains she signed the MOA that mandates trucks – regardless of year model – to pass the MVIS road worthiness test.