By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Deputy Speaker and Bulacan Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica wants to increase the penalty of overloading of passengers in public utility vehicles (PUVs).
She said the government should establish proactive measures for the prevention of road traffic fatalities and for the maintenance of peace and order and public safety.
“Overloaded jeepneys and buses have become a common occurrence in provinces and cities, but these have gone largely unnoticed by authorities,” Villarica said.
He recalled that in September 2018, 14 people died when the brakes of an overloaded passenger van malfunctioned in Balbalan, Kalinga Apayao, and plunged off a cliff.
“The overloading of public utility vehicles has already claimed many innocent lives, and its persistence continues to threaten the safety of passengers, commuters and road users. This practice must be stopped for the safety and protection of the riding public by criminalizing and penalizing the carrying of passengers above the registered vehicle capacity,” the woman House leader said.
Under House Bill 8504 or the proposed Anti-Overloading Act of 2018, it shall be unlawful for owners, operators, drivers, conductors and other persons responsible for the operation of any covered vehicle to load above their registered carrying capacity as determined by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
In the determination of the registered carrying capacity, the DOTr shall consider the measured weight of a motor vehicle plus the maximum allowable carrying capacity in passenger. The registered carrying capacity shall reflect the seating and standing capacity of the motor vehicle.
HB 8504 provides that getting passengers beyond the registered carrying capacity shall be imposed the following penalties:
First-time offenders shall be penalized with P50,000 fine and one-year suspension of franchise and driver’s license of the driver.
For the second offense, a fine of P250,000 and two-year suspension of the franchise and driver’s license of the drivers shall be imposed.
For third offense, P1-million fine and the revocation of the franchise and driver’s license of the driver shall be slapped.
HB 8504 tasks the Land Transportation Office (LTO), in consultation with the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to formulate and issue the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.