Jeepney drivers slam City Hall

For refusal to implement ordinance

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard)--Jeepney drivers and operators here have raised howl over the city government’s apparent unwillingness and negligence to implement Ordinance No. 2006-005 or “An ordinance regulating the operation of trimobile units for hire along national roads within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Naga, and prescribing penalties for violation thereof.”

In a recent meeting called by the City Hall, the jeepney drivers and operators voiced out their concerns over the presence of trimobiles on national roads.

The City Hall, through Councilor Lito del Rosario, invited the drivers and operators to remind them of their obligations to the SSS and BIR.

Also invited was the representative of the LTFRB, who did not appear during the meeting.

Aldrick Punzalan, speaking for the drivers’ and operators’ group said that it is difficult for the jeepney drivers and operators to religiously comply with their obligations because their revenues are being tremendously depleted due to the illegal operation of the trimobiles on national highways.

“To make matters worse, the City continuously approves additional franchises to e-trikes. The City said the e-trikes are only at an experimental stage. But the experimentation has been going on for so long. First there were the yellow e-trikes, then the green, the white, and the blue.”

“The continuing approval of the franchise of these e-trikes plus the negligence to implement the city ordinance that regulates the operation of tricycles along national roads are probably the main reasons why Naga City’s roads have become so congested with traffic,” Punzalan opined.

“With the unpredictable rise of the prices of gasoline, along with the aforementioned factors, it has become increasingly difficult for jeepney drivers and operators to comply with their responsibilities,” he added.

Ordinance no. 2006-005 mandates: “Trimobile units operating under the Regular Franchise are also allowed to operate along National Roads inside the Central Business District (CBD-1) and other areas within the City’s territorial jurisdiction except in the followings, to wit: National Road (San Felipe portion) –from Peñafrancia Cemetery towards Barangay San Felipe and the upper Barangays. National Road (Concepcion Pequeña to Del Rosario portion) – from the junction of Magsaysay Avenue– Roxas and Panganiban Drive towards Barangay Del Rosario. Along Roxas Avenue (Diversion Road) National Road (Magsaysay Avenue Portion) - From corner of Basilica Road-Dayangdang Street and Magsaysay Avenue towards Roxas.”

“The foregoing prohibitions shall not apply to trimobile units with valid Regular Franchise under the following circumstances, to wit: On special trips provided no passenger is on board on the way back from point of destination. On emergency cases to and from point of destination. Within the period from 9:00 o’clock in the evening to 5:00 o’clock in the morning. When crossing thru the following areas, to wit: - along the Roxas Avenue from CBD II Primo Outpost to ALDP Compound and vice versa,” it continues.

Apart from the ordinance, it will be noted that there is an existing national law that bans tricycles and pedicabs along national highways.

Road signs that tricycles are not allowed on said national roads have also been put up.

Last year, Mayor John Bongat ordered, through Task Force COMET (City Ordinance Monitoring and Enforcement Team), the strict implementation of some ordinances which have not been strictly enforced.

“But what use to us are an ordinance, a national law, Task Force COMET, and road signs when the law is not being implemented?” Punzalan questioned.

"We fervently hope our concern is addressed in the soonest possible time,” he said. “We earnestly want to cooperate with the government, but they should also protect our welfare by implementing the law which was crafted for the common good.”