IN A bid to avert a planned transport strike on Tuesday, officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) are set to hold a “make-or-break” dialogue with transport leaders Monday.

MMDA Chairman Oscar Inocentes said Quezon City 2nd District Representative Mary Ann Susano, the chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, will also attend the dialogue to be held at the Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan.

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Inocentes said Efren De Luna, president of the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (Acto), will lead the transport sector in the dialogue.

The dialogue came after the MMDA and the DOTC failed to elicit an agreement with the transport groups not to push through with the February 23 strike to pressure the government into implementing a single traffic ticketing system (STS) in the metropolis.

De Luna said then the strike is still a go but added they will attend the dialogue.

“We will push through with the transport strike. The government must do something about the different traffic violation receipts issued by the various local government units, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board which adds more confusion to the motorists and drivers,” De Luna said.

He pointed out that under Republic Act 7924, the law creating the MMDA, the agency is the only agency authorized to issue traffic violation receipts (TVRs) within Metro Manila, not the local government units (LGU).

He said bus and jeepney drivers have long been suffering with the existing scheme wherein local government units in Metro Manila issue different traffic citation tickets or Official Violation Receipts (OVR).

The single-ticketing plan seeks to make uniform the system of issuing citation tickets all over the metropolis, including policies and fees.

De Luna complained that they are being treated as “milking cows” by the LGUs that charge exorbitant traffic fines.

“Our routes take us to different cities. Every city has its own traffic ordinance and most of the time we are being issued several traffic violation tickets,” he said.

De Luna pointed out that RA 7924, being a special law, takes precedence over the 1991 Local Government Code that gives LGUs autonomy to direct traffic and issue traffic tickets within its territorial jurisdictions.

Apart from Acto, de Luna said other transport groups such as the Liga ng Transportasyon at Opereytor ng Pilipinas led by its president Orlando Marquez, Metro Manila Operators Drivers Alliance through its president Madel Guillermo, and Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines and Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association led by Engineer Homer Mercado, have expressed the same views on the subject.

But the militant transport group, Pinag-Isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide (Piston) through its secretary general, George San Mateo said they would not join the planned strike.

For his part, Inocentes vows to resolve the issue on the unified traffic ticketing system following the appeal of the transport groups.

Inocentes said the agency is discussing with the Metro Manila Council (MMC) composed of the 17 mayors in the metropolis ways on how to resolve the issue.

“We don’t want them to go out in the streets and paralyze our public transportation while we are still fine tuning our agreement with the mayors regarding the implementation of the STS. These strikes will only cause so much inconvenience to our motorists and commuters,” he said.

The MMC is the policy-making body of the MMDA.

He added that the MMDA’s technical working group is ironing out an initial agreement between the MMDA and the local government units on the single ticketing system on traffic violations.

Inocentes informed De Luna that the Metro Manila mayors have agreed in principle to set aside their separate ticketing ordinances and use only the TVR of the MMDA.

“The mayors agreed to comply with the single ticketing system, the details of which are now being worked out by our technical working group. What we have not yet discussed extensively is who will deputize the traffic enforcers, is it the MMDA or the LGUs?” Inocentes said.

He added the MMDA has agreed to let the LGUs get all the traffic fines from the MMDA TVR provided the traffic ticket to be used is that of the MMDA.

“This is a good start. We are confident that we will come out with a positive solution on this matter and address the concerns of our transport sector,” the MMDA chief said. (AH/Sunnex)