The Department of Interior & Local Government has directed local government units to implement a law passed by Congress in 1957, and reiterated in a Memorandum Circular in 2007, prohibiting tricycles and other slow-moving vehicles from plying on national roads.
The directive, which will be the subject of a public consultation at the Robinson’s Dumaguete on Thursday starting at 1:30 p.m., is aimed at ensuring the safety of drivers and passengers, and most certainly, to also ease traffic congestion.
Should the City of Dumaguete decide to enforce this law, this would mean that tricycles will be prohibited from plying along Real St., the north and south national highway, Colon St., and Perdices St.
We could hear the tricycle drivers already crying out in protest against this move, which could have severe political repercussions on any politician who dares to enforce this.
The law, after all, was passed in the year when the price of one liter of gasoline was 10 centavos. Now, it’s P60.
Forcing tricycles to take a circuitous route to deliver their passengers would be a waste of gasoline and time, and would also inevitably increase tricycle fare, causing undue burden on the riding public.
It is not unusual to hear of comments from motorists blaming tricycles for the traffic situation in Dumaguete. That may be true. There are just so many of them. There are 2,500 tricycles in Dumaguete City alone, not to mention there are several tricycles from the towns of Sibulan, Valencia, and Bacong that regularly do business in Dumaguete’s streets.
But of course, there are other causes of traffic congestion as well. We see cars and other four-wheeled vehicles parked carelessly on no- parking zones, or facing the direction of traffic. Worse, we see them parked on sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk on the main road. We also see cargo trucks which do not have business in Dumaguete passing through City roads.
If one looks at the provisions of RA 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, one realizes that motorists are violating the law left and right, and remain unpunished.
Simple laws such as the requirement for side mirrors, for helmets, against reckless driving, against drunken driving, against speeding, against muffler-less vehicles, etc., are happening under the very noses of the law enforcers.
One could have a deeper understanding of this situation when they see that the vehicles of the law enforcers themselves are in no better condition, and deserve to be impounded as well.
Easing traffic congestion is no easy job. It would require a lot of political will. This will be a very big challenge to the mayors of LGUs who will be directed to enforce the 1957 law.