Trucks carrying agricultural products will be exempted from paying fees collected by local government units along checkpoints, as the government relaunches its "Food Lane Project," Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on Tuesday.
Truckers that seek inclusion in the program will be issued certificates and windshield stickers as proof they no longer have to be flagged down.
"Cargo haulers, traders and farmers delivering food items to the market have complained against the collection of the 'passing through' fees imposed by every local government along the way adding up to the cost of the products," Piñol said.
"Checkpoints along the way are also notorious for mulcting and extorting passing cargo trucks of whatever these are loaded with."
Truckers who want to avail of the privilege will have to apply for permits at the department's regional offices to ensure that the program will not be "exploited by criminal syndicates who transport contraband items," Piñol said.
Local governments that will not comply with the new policy may face adminitrative chargers as directed by Interior Secretary Ismael Sueño, Piñol said.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has also agreed to prioritize the passage of agricultural goods in high-volume areas leading to markets in Metro Manila such as Divisoria.