Philippine truckers burdened by restricted tonnage relating to the government’s anti-overloading campaign now face a couple more predicaments: the conflicting weighing modes used by two major expressways and a looming daytime truck ban.
On April 5, a resolution amending the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of Republic Act 8794 was approved by Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson. It was implemented on June 1.
The amended IRR provided a revised set of maximum allowable gross vehicle weights (GVW) for several types of cargo trucks.
The North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) is weighing trucks based on the allowable 13,500 tons per axle while the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) uses both gross vehicle weight and per axle.
A source from NLEX who requested anonymity said the northern gateway has not yet implemented the GVW measure because Pampanga truckers are not yet fully informed about the amended IRR.
But he clarified that Manila North Tollways Corp., operator of the expressway, will implement the GVW within the month, probably after two weeks. The company will first discuss the issue with truckers and the Department of Public Works and Highways on July 12.
On the other hand, SLEx is requiring trucks to undergo both GVW and per axle weighing. So even if a truck that uses the NLEX passes on a per-axle basis, it won’t be allowed into the SLEX if it fails the GVW weighing.
Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines president Ruperto Bayocot, in a phone interview with PortCalls, said that to avoid being penalized, trucks should avoid SLEX. If a truck from Tarlac is bound for Batangas, it should take an alternate highway.
Bayocot said CTAP has already sent a position paper to the DPWH requesting a 12-2 configured truck (18-wheeler) to have an allowable GVW of 52,000 tons instead of the prescribed 41,500 tons, and a 12-3 configured truck (22-wheeler) to be given 57,000 tons, up from 42,000 tons.
Meanwhile, Integrated North Harbor Truckers Association (INHTA) chairman Teodorico Gervacio said his group will meet with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on the latter’s proposal for a daytime truck ban.
CTAP’s Bayocot said such a proposal along with current overloading rules will spell disaster for the trucking sector.
The INHTA chairman said “as far as we are concerned, if the ongoing talks of our sector with DPWH fails, we will start planning a truck holiday after the 10th (of July).” He said he is not exactly in favor of such a move but would have no choice but to support it before all his group’s trucks are penalized. He earlier said INHTA is only pushing for amendments to configurations for 40-footer trucks.
Meanwhile, agriculture officials and freight industry leaders will meet in mid-July to discuss concerns about a possible disruption of food supply in Metro Manila due to the anti-overloading guidelines.
Industry stakeholders warned that prices of agricultural commodities, particularly rice, could go up by P1 per kilo because of the new guidelines on implementing Republic Act No. 8794, or the anti-overloading law, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dante S. Delima said.
“We noted that the continued implementation of the new guidelines … will have an adverse effect on the supply and price of rice in the local market,” Delima, also national rice program coordinator, was quoted by local news reports as saying.
“There may not even be enough trailers and containers to move all the cargo because of the additional trips required to move them all,” he said.
The report said Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and the industry representatives would meet on July 15.
The strict rules on truck weight had also caused worries among lawmakers about its impact on food supplies and prices.
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