LTO issues order asking deputized agents to surrender TOPs, mission orders

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) revoked all deputation orders to pave the way for a uniform and orderly implementation of Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01, which increases all fines for traffic violations.

“All deputized agents concerned are ordered to surrender the TOP (temporary operators permit), IDs and mission orders issued to them to the Traffic Safety Division and Regional Operations Divisions, respectively, for proper accounting and evaluation within 72 hours from receipt thereof,” read the memorandum issued by Assistant Secretary Alfonso Tan, the LTO chief.

JAO 2014-01 or the Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties for Violations of Laws, Rules and Regulations Governing Land Transportation was issued jointly by LTO, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) last June 2.

The joint circular will take effect today, June 19.

However, Tan ordered the revocation of all deputation orders issued by the LTO Central Office and regional offices effective yesterday.

“Deputized agents who fail to comply with the directive shall be subjected to administrative sanction provided for by law,” Tan’s memorandum further reads.

Agencies

The joint circular was issued by LTO, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) last June 2,

Aden Belza, chief of the LTO 7 administrative division, furnished copies of Tan’s memorandum to media outlets and law enforcement organizations.

Belza urged all deputized agents in Cebu to obey Tan’s memorandum and surrender their TOPs, IDs and mission orders to the LTO Operations Division immediately.

Belza said there are about 580 deputized agents in Central Visayas.

Ordinances

Jonathan Tumulak, executive assistant of the City Traffic Operations and Management (Citom) told Sun.Star Cebu that while they are affected by JAO 2014-01, they can continue implementing traffic laws within Cebu City using the city ordinance.

“We can use citation tickets to apprehend traffic violators. But citation ticket applies only to the city ordinance. The TOP is very important because it can be used to apprehend violators of national laws on transportation,” Tumulak said.

He said that one example of a national law is the National Helmet Law, which requires motorcycle riders to wear not only helmet, but a helmet with certification from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“We have a city ordinance for that, which requires the wearing of helmet regardless of what kind of helmet and no need of DTI certification,” Tumulak said.

Citom Chief Rafael Christopher Yap said 52 of their traffic enforcers were deputized by LTO.

He added that under City Ordinance 801 or the traffic ordinance of the city, Citom enforcers are still allowed to apprehend traffic violators even without the deputation order issued by LTO.

“Our income won’t be affected, too, since we don’t earn from issuing TOP’s,” Yap added.

In Mandaue City, Glenn Antigua, assistant for operations of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team), said he worries that the LTO’s move may encourage more drivers to violate traffic rules.

Of the Team’s 180 traffic enforcers, around 60 were deputized by the LTO to issue Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) to erring drivers.

Antigua said the Team’s citation tickets alone will not deter drivers from committing traffic violations. Drivers issued with citation tickets should pay P200 to the City Treasurer’s Office within seven days.

Enforcers deputized by LTO confiscate the driver’s license of erring drivers, who must pay more than P1,000 to the LTO office to get back their license.

“Some drivers may take advantage of the situation,” Antigua told Sun.Star Cebu, adding that traffic violations are rampant during school season.

He recalled that many traffic violations occurred last December when the deputized traffic enforcers turned over their TOPs to the LTO for inventory.

“The TOP really helps to discipline drivers,” he said.

Oppressive

Meanwhile, the cause-oriented group Bayan-Visayas issued a statement opposing JAO 2014-01, saying the fines and penalties are very high, reaching P1 million, which they consider oppressive.

Bayan Visayas Chairman Jaime Paglinawan said such oppressive traffic law should not be implemented in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu where Local Government Units (LGUs) do not provide public parking areas.

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

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