Monday, June 17, 2019

Arrest for drivers of bikes-for-hire, seizure for units

DRIVE CAREFULLY: Cebu City Transportation Office operations chief Francisco Ouano is urging drivers to be extra careful when on the road this holiday season. He says the vehicular accidents in the past few days were caused by people trying to beat the Christmas rush.

THE Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Highway Patrol Group of the Philippine National Police (HPG-PNP) will start apprehending Angkas and habal-habal drivers in joint operations this week.

“We will apprehend all Angkas and Habal-Habal on sight to show to the people that we are implementing the law and nobody is above the law. We are concerned about the people’s safety,” said LTO 7 Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec.

Caindec admitted that they were bashed by people on the social media because of their move against motorcycles-for-hire, but they will continue to inform the people that the “law is the law” and these Angkas and habal-habal drivers are operating illegally.

No to political interference

Last Saturday, Dec. 15, a joint operation conducted by the LTO, LTFRB and the HPG in front of the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City apprehended 28 Angkas and habal-habal units. These will be impounded for 90 days and their owners fined P6,000 each.

The counting of the impoundment period will start on the day the driver will settle the fine.

“I will not hesitate to fill the LTO impounding area with motorcycles illegally used for Angkas and habal-habal,” Caindec said.

He urged public officials, especially mayors, to refrain from siding with the affected drivers, as they can also be charged before the ombudsman.

“What would the people prefer? A nation governed by laws, or a country government by men without laws? If the people will continue to violate the laws because Angkas and habal-habal are popular, that is anarchy already,” Caindec said.

He said that when four LTO organic personnel were arrested for extortion in Tagbilaran City recently, owners of colorum vehicles hated the whistleblower because they lost the protectors of their illegal business.

“I repeat, LTFRB is not issuing a franchise (to Angkas and habal-habal driver) because Republic Act (RA) 4136 states that motorcycles for passenger purposes is illegal because it is risky and dangerous. Officials who are in favor of Angkas and habal-habal must go to Congress and amend the law,” he said.

In last Saturday’s operation, Angkas drivers were caught “in flagrante” because of their uniform and helmet. Habal-habal drivers were tougher to spot unless they were seen picking up passengers.

Caindec said the LTO has a Traffic Adjudication Service where the driver can deny violating RA 4136 because his passenger is either a relative or a friend. The driver and his passenger, though, must execute an affidavit. That way, if they are lying, the LTO will file charges against them, he said.

“We have a law to follow, unlike the executive order issued by (Mayor Tomas) Osmeña against counter-flow without rules,” Caindec said.

Meanwhile, LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said the fine under Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-001 will double to P12,000 for the second violation and triple for the third violation. The motorcycle’s registration might also be canceled.

Montealto reiterated that under RA 4136, motorcycle are not allowed/considered as a public/for hire transportation.


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