THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Tuesday said it will impose stiffer penalties of up to P1 million for "colorum" or unauthorized public utility vehicles (PUVs) plying the streets.
The new penalties will be contained in the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2014-01 or the revised schedule of fines and penalties for violation of laws, rules, and regulations governing land transportation of the DOTC, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to be issued on Wednesday. It will take effect on June 19, or 15 days after Wednesday's publication in two newspapers of general circulation.
"Safety is always our priority. Recent accidents have highlighted the need for harsher penalties to deter illegal PUV practices and to better protect the public. The most significant change we are imposing is the P1 Million fine on colorum bus operators for the first offense, to show that we really mean business in putting an end to their inimical activities which put people's lives at risk," said Transportation and Communication Secretary Joesph Emilio Abaya.
The fine for other first-time colorum offenders are: trucks – P200,000; jeepney – P50,000; vans – P200,000; Sedans – P120,000; motorcycles – P6,000.
Apart from these fines, the colorum vehicles will also be impounded for a minimum period of three months. The entire certificate of public convenience (CPC) to which the colorum vehicle belongs will be revoked, as well as their vehicle registrations. They will also be blacklisted from being used as PUVs in the future.
In case of a second offense, the entire fleet or all CPCs of the erring operator will be revoked, the vehicles will be blacklisted from being used as PUVs in the future, and their vehicle registrations will also be revoked. The violating operator – and in case of corporations, the stockholders and directors – will be disqualified from operating any kind of public land transportation.
The JAO covers other PUV-related violations as well, such as the refusal to render services to the public or to convey passengers to their destination; overcharging; employing reckless, insolent, discourteous, or arrogant drivers; operating PUVs with defective parts and accessories; using tampered taximeters; trip cutting; and others.
Abaya also clarified that "the order covers not only franchise violations, but all breaches of road transport rules and regulations, such as the failure to attach license plates and driving without a valid license."
A P 5,000 fine will be imposed on those who fail to attach, and those who improperly attach or tamper with motor vehicle license plates and the third-plate stickers. This includes the attachment of any unauthorized accessory or device which impedes the visibility or reflectivity of the valid license plate or third-plate sticker.
Unauthorized license plates and third-plate stickers will be confiscated in favor of the government.
Penalties for other violations, such as driving without a valid driver’s license; reckless driving; failure to wear a seatbelt; driving an unregistered motor vehicle; and other breaches of traffic rules and regulations, are also provided for in the JAO. (SDR/Sunnex)