by Charissa Luci-Atienza
Lawmakers urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to suspend the implementation of its 15-year age limit policy for public utility buses (PUBs) and trucks for hire (TFH).
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said they agreed to write the DOTr to convey his panel’s recommendation to suspend the implementation of the policy on the mandatory age limit for trucks and buses.
“There was already a motion that was approved by the committee. I am not sure if our committee secretary already transmitted the letter to the DOTr,” he said in an interview.
Castelo maintained that the DOTr should defer the implementation of Department Order No. 2017-009, citing the need to resolve first the issues raised by the trucking industry.
“The planned phase-out of aging trucks should take into consideration the roadworthiness of the unit using the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) and not the date of manufacture of the vehicle,” he pointed out.
Several members of the Castelo panel proposed that a comprehensive study should be conducted first before implementing such policy and called on the DOTr to allow trucks to continue their operations as long as they are roadworthy, regardless of age.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, agreed with Castelo, saying that “the road worthiness of the trucks and not the age should be the basis for determining whether trucks should be allowed to continue to operate.”
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member Ronaldo Corpuz reported to the Castelo panel that the DOTr’s mandatory 15-year age limit policy for PUBs and TFH “still remains.”
As such, the LTFRB will no longer issue new franchises for PUBs and TFHs that are over 15 years old from the date of the manufacture. However, those that have been issued franchises prior to reaching 15 years of age can continue operating until 2020.
Alliance of Philippine Brokers and Truckers Associations legal counsel Ferdinand Mañebo described as “unreasonable and arbitrary” the standard used by DOTr in issuing such policy. He said there is no direct relation between the two.