Piston decries increased penalties

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


FINES for violations of land transportation policies will only encourage corruption, a transport group said Wednesday.

The Pinag-isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) Baguio chapter expressed their opposition over imposed increase in fines and penalties for violations of road policies effective Thursday, June 19.

The Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01 known as the revised schedule of fines and penalties of laws, rules and regulations governing land transportation was issued June 2 by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

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Instead of instilling discipline among drivers and operators of land transportation vehicles, members of the alliance believe the new regulation can be more associated with corruption.

Piston president Carlito Wayas said the indicated fines and penalties on the JAO 2014-01 are not just high but overbearing, unreasonable and unconstitutional violating Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.

Violations such as driving without valid driver's license or conductor's permit, driving under the influence of alcohol and dangerous drugs, reckless driving, submission of fake documents on driver's license application, prescribed accessory policies, colorum, and all other traffic rules and regulations will be penalized from P1,000 to P1M depending the kind and degree of violation.

Members of the alliance alleged government sees “fees and charges remain a significant source of revenue for the government.”

They questioned the rationale behind the increase in fines and penalties stressing they were not based on any systematic study which can prove higher fines and heavier penalties will address traffic problems and promote discipline among drivers and operators.

They also claimed the JAI 2014-01 did not undergo an appropriate ratification as it only had one public consultation.

Members of the alliance added majority of the stakeholders on the public consultation objected to the draft of JAO 2014-01.

They noted the LTFRB, LTO and DOTC just took the authority of the Congress to enact the administrative order solely intended for “fund generation”.

The alliance is committed to petition to the proper government agencies to stop the implementation of the JAO.

Wayas assumed the administrative order is also one way of the DOTC to cover the case filed by Maria Basa Express Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association against the LTO which, according to him is now at the Supreme Court.

“Alam yata nila na matatalo sila kaya inunahan na para maging tuloy tuloy yung pagkolekta nila ng malalaking fines and penalties,” he said.

On the case filed by the Maria Basa Express Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association, the Baguio City Regional Trial Court declared the Department Order 2008-39 or the Revised Schedule of LTO Fines and Penalties for Traffic and Administrative Violations issued 2012 "void and null" for being unconstitutional.

Although the DOTC appealed a motion for reconsideration, the RTC junked the plea and maintained its first decision.

The Court of Appeals also upheld the ruling of the RTC declaring the nullity of the LTO department order calling for increase in fines and penalties on traffic violation through a decision issued November 15, 2012. (Giovani Joy Fontanilla)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 19, 2014.

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