MANILA – Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Winston Ginez defended the board's policy to allow unregistered trucks to use the road.
Speaking to radio dzMM, Ginez said a consultation with the business sector, which includes port operators, led the LTFRB to allow trucks-for-hire with no existing franchise to use the road while their applications with the LTFRB are being processed.
The application for franchise for trucks-for-hire will end on August 29. In the meantime, trucks without franchises are given provisional authority to travel.
Ginez said there is a need to grant these trucks franchise before the government finally implements a provision in the Joint Administrative Order 2014-1 of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
The JAO imposes a P200,000 fine for first-time offender colorum trucks, while a heftier fine of P1 million awaits colorum buses.
Ginez said the ''no apprehension'' policy was crafted to ensure that the flow of goods will continue and ports will become less congested.
In response to criticisms that the LTFRB memorandum has triggered traffic jams around the metro, Ginez said the LTFRB did not say that the trucks can already violate the ''truck ban'' policy of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
He added that the trucks being blamed by the MMDA and Metro Manila mayors for the heavy traffic were already using the roads as colorum way before the LTFRB finally gave them the chance to apply for franchise.
''Ninety percent of our trucks are colorum, that is why this is the solution we found,'' he told dzMM.
Ginez said about 29,000 trucks all over the country have applied for franchise.
Ginez also defended the LTFRB's decision to rationalize the routes of provincial buses.
He said the Memorandum Circular Numbers 2014-009, which suspended operations against colorum buses and out-of-line operations, gives bus firms the chance to legitimately allocate their bus units to routes where passenger demand is high.
Ginez noted that some bus firms were forced to deploy buses to certain routes with heavy passenger demand even if the units are not allowed due to franchise restrictions.
He said just like the no apprehension policy for trucks, the memorandum circular guarantees operators of out-of-line and colorum buses that they will not be apprehended and be slapped with a hefty fine of P1 million under the JAO.
He said not giving the bus firms the chance to rationalize their routes may result in massive transport strikes in the future, as bus firms face the risk of being fined.
Ginez also clarified that the LTFRB is not issuing new franchises for Metro Manila. He said the memorandum only involves the modification of the buses' routes.