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Rough Cuts | One discriminatory directive by the LTO

It’s nice to hear that finally the provincial government of Davao del Norte and the management of Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO) have finally come up with an agreement to have at least three roads traversing the massive banana plantation opened to public use subject to certain restrictions.

Yes, opening the access roads will greatly ease travel of people from the barangays of Braulio Dujali, part of Panabo City, and Sto. Tomas. They can now use the private roads of the massive plantation to get to the main public highways.

We understand that some well-meaning people brokered the agreement and one of them is MINDA Secretary Manny Pinol. That is one cap on his head. Hope the agreement will hold for long.

One thing is certain here though. That is, politics is temporarily set aside by warring politicians for the benefit of the people in the involved communities.

Our congratulations go to all concerned TADECO executives and the officials of the provincial government of Davao del Norte for humbling themselves so as to give the residents easy and faster access to wherever their destinations are.

We would however, strongly recommend the road users to abide by whatever restrictions agreed upon by the parties so that the agreement will last. Public cooperation is of utmost importance in situations like the one in the TADECO plantation area.

The company is a leading exporter of bananas worldwide. Any diminution in the quality of its products could result to the loss of its markets.

And bananas are highly vulnerable to foot-borne agricultural diseases.


We strongly support the resolution initiated by Davao third district councilor Conrado Baluran to have the directive of the national office of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) mandating the apprehension of multi-cabs carrying passengers on its open back portion reviewed.

The LTO directive councilor Baluran is referring to was issued by the LTO national office last September 18, 2019. And it covers motor vehicles like pick-up trucks and its smaller version, the multi-cabs.

The reason cited by the LTO in its directive is that the open space at the back is intended for cargo and not human passengers. It indicated that any person riding on the open space is over and above the maximum allowable passengers.

If this is so, we have to take it to mean that in the case of single cab pick-up truck and multi-cabs, the only allowable passenger is one person – the one seated beside the driver. In the case of double cab pick-up the total allowable passengers including the driver is 5 persons, the driver and one other at the front seat, and the three others at the back cab. Supposedly, only cargoes are allowed to be loaded on the back space.

We really do not have any idea if what the LTO is prescribing as the purpose of such vehicles as pick-ups and multi-cabs is exactly the same as the intention of the manufacturers of the concerned vehicles.

Of course there is no need to argue if the subject vehicle is a dump truck, or close van, or wing van, or even the so-called Bongo. Its manufacturers are clear with the purpose of the production – for cargo transport.

But for multi-cabs and pick-up trucks, the vehicles’ names and makes are suggestive. That is, for as long as there is space left and seats are made available taking into consideration personal safety, these vehicles may allow passengers for as long as they do not exceed the weight-carrying capacity and the driver or owner does not collect fares.

Yes, if the vehicles controverted herein are really restrained from carrying human passengers on its back space then it should have been made clear by its manufacturers and subsequently the dealers. And the buyers should have been forewarned of the restrictions instead of being misled that the pick-up or multi-cabs and other units with open back are for full utility purposes.

Imagine how many units of multi-cabs are bought by people in the rural areas mostly in upland communities. They have preference for these vehicles because these are highly maneuverable, gas efficient, and can very well carry agricultural products of farmers direct to the market. And every time rural farmers dispose of their own produce they have to have with them one, two or three persons to help load and unload the farm produce and sell it to market goers.  And if only one passenger is allowed a multi-cab, will the LTO rather have the other one or two take the riskier habal-habal ride?

We also agree with councilor Baluran when he said that the LTO directive is “despotic, arbitrary, and dictatorial in nature.” And if we may add, it is discriminatory as well.

Besides, what Certificate of Public Convenience is there to suspend by the LTO when most open-back multi-cabs are privately-owned vehicles and not used for picking up passengers? If at all there are riders, these are either family members or friends who need vehicle support for certain private purpose like going to church, joining a funeral procession, going to the market to sell produce and buy household needs, or simply visit some friends and relatives.

And now comes the LTO running after those driving the lowly multi-cabs and the more burgess pick-up trucks carrying people on its spacious back,

Why can’t the agency just busy itself finding solutions to the gargantuan traffic problem in Metro Manila instead of training its attention on the lowly mode of private transport in the rural communities, the most economical way of going to the city proper – the multi-cabs?

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