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LTO XI urged: Freeze ban on back riders of pick-ups, trucks

The Land Transportation Office in the region is urged to amend the implementation of its rule that prohibits back riders on pick-up trucks, multicabs, and trucks.

Councilor Conrado Baluran, who chairs the committee on transportation and communications, made the call during his privilege speech on Tuesday’s regular session.

“We would like to request them (LTO) to hold in abeyance its implementation while we are requesting for an amendment by way of regulating not prohibiting,” he said.

Baluran said many have sought the help of his office, especially the farmers in the third district, which is mostly classified as agricultural by the zoning ordinance.

“Their intention for pick-ups, bongo, or other vehicles with a space at the back is to ferry more passengers, especially going to their farms that have no public transport service. This is their main mode of transportation intended to carry produce and people to their farms,” he said.

According to Baluran, he has to air the sentiments of the public as part of public service.

“Of course, we would always listen to the clamor of the public,” he said.

On Sept. 18, 2019, the LTO Central Office signed a memorandum, which prohibits the operation of motor vehicles exceeding the passenger capacity by allowing back riders on the bed intended for cargo and goods.

Violators may pay a fine of P2,000 to P3,000, or face suspension of the certificate of public convenience.

According to Baluran, while this law has been long approved, the public was caught by surprise with its urgent implementation.

“Although this has been already passed long time ago, they immediately implemented this without the dissemination of information. They should have disseminated to the public first before they implemented this law,” he said.

According to Baluran, he met with the LTO XI regional director lawyer Gomer Dy. The latter said he will also represent the voice of the people of Davao to the national office.

Apprehensions continue

Meanwhile, the LTO XI will continue to implement the ban without the order from the central office.

“The back space of the pick-ups and trucks are for cargoes and freight only. They are not intended for passengers,” LTO XI operations division chief Eleanor Calderon said during an interview.

Calderon said the directive was released to weeks ago due to recent incidents involving pick-ups and trucks with too many passengers at the bed of the vehicles.

“You will know that a space or vehicle is for passengers if it has seat-belts. The back spaces of vehicles do not have one (seat-belts), it means that it is not meant for passengers,” she said.

Calderon also added that violators will be charged under the violation of reckless driving and over-speeding.

Vehicles with cargoes at the back spaces of their cars and trucks will be allowed to have one helper at the back to assist and help with the cargoes.

“We allowed one person as helper to help with the cargoes if there is. As much as possible, we only allow one. Having many people at the back spaces would impose danger,” she said.

“There are many violators already that were caught. We must change the minds of people regarding this matter. Passengers are only allowed to sit in the front and backseats where there are seatbelts,” she said.

Calderon revealed that from January to September of this year, there were already 979 road crashes and collisions in the city. The most common violations were reckless driving, obstruction, failure to wear helmets for motorcycle accidents, failure to wear seat-belts, over-speeding, drunk-driving, and using cellphones while driving.

“There are still those that have no driver’s license. We should be able to remind the public that vehicles have spare tires, but humans have no spare lives.” she said.

Calderon said that they are conducting road safety education for senior highs, who are, according to her, are future drivers.

“We will be conducting road safety education to schools. We will be visiting schools starting next month after the MOA has been signed by the Department of Education (DepEd),” she said.

By Julianne A. Suarez and Samantha T. Burgos

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