‘Probe exemptions to city truck ban’

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Saturday, December 7, 2013


BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella has asked the City Council to initiate its own investigation on the issuance of truck ban exemption passes allegedly by Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez to 394 cargo trucks of various truckers and hauling companies.

Puentevella was informed that the Council is already aware of the issue.

The mayor said he does not want to put down a city official, but he hinted that the letter the councilor addressed to then Traffic Management Unit (TMU) head, Senior Insp. Benedicto Villarias, could explain all.

Puentevella added that he never issued any exemption pass or sticker with his picture on it for trucks to be allowed to ply the major roads of the city while the prohibition to the entry of cargo trucks these thoroughfares is in effect.

Cargo trucks, including sugarcane trucks, are prohibited from entering the major streets of Bacolod City between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“There was no exemption pass issued from my end,” the mayor said.

Moreover, Puentevella said he re-assigned Chief Inspector Levy Pangue and Villarias, former TMU chiefs for North and South, respectively, to new assignments as he wanted to implement a new traffic policy or scheme effective January.

He also refused to confirm that the controversy behind the truck ban exemption was the ground for the re-assignment of Pangue and Villarias.

Documents provided to reporters showed that Villarias wrote Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya seeking concurrence or approval from the Vice Mayor’s Office on the letter-requests of Lopez for the exemption of cargo trucks.

Gasataya, in his reply to Villarias, said the Council does not have the authority or power to concur or approve any request for truck ban exemption and pointed out that it is the authority of the Office of the City Mayor through the BTAO.

In his letter to Villarias, Lopez informed the former BTAO head that the trucks should be exempted from the truck ban because these vehicles deliver perishable agricultural cargo.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 07, 2013.

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