Philippine truck operators with units that are 15 years or older may still renew their franchise until June 30, 2020 provided the trucks pass a roadworthiness test, according to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra III in a press conference on November 21.
This clarification comes after some trucking groups staged a trucking holiday from Nov 19 to 20 to protest the difficulty in returning empty containers as well as the 15-year truck age limit. Truckers have long argued that roadworthiness, not truck age, should be the basis for the grant of a certificate of public convenience (CPC) or franchise. Some truckers have complained of their current inability to renew units that are 15 years or older due to several rulings from the Department of Transportation and LTFRB. LTFRB is an attached agency of the DoTr.
Per LTFRB Memorandum Circular (MC) 2018-07, June 30 is the end of a two-and-a-half-year transition period within which truck operators with existing CPCs should substitute their non-compliant trucks. MC 2018-97 conforms to Department of Transportation Department Order (DO) 2017-09, which expressly said the filing of new CPC applications for trucks-for-hire (TH) beyond 15 years will not be allowed.
But on Nov 21, Delgra stated that the LTFRB is “veering away from the vehicle age policy, and moving towards roadworthiness” as the basis for granting franchises to THs. As proof, he pointed to LTFRB MC 2018-07, which noted that once the government establishes its Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS), roadworthiness will become the basis for granting CPC to PUVs, including trucks.
Before implementation of the MVIS, Delgra advised truckers to either “substitute” their trucks or make them roadworthy.
And even after the MVIS adoption, Delgra said trucks beyond 15 years old may still be given a CPC provided they pass the roadworthiness test.
In a chance interview with PortCalls on November 23, Teodorico Gervacio–president of Inland Haulers and Truckers Association (INHTA), one of the groups that participated in the trucking holiday–confirmed trucks more than 15 years of age can actually renew their franchise but would have to first “apply for a motion to confirm” and then pass the motor vehicle inspection test. It must be noted that the test is a requirement in securing CPC for all trucks, even those less than 15 years old.
With government’s recent announcements that it is actually moving toward roadworthiness and not age as key criteria in providing franchises, Gervacio said truckers would like DOTr to revoke DO 2017-09 and issue another order specifically stating it will no longer implement the 15-year age policy and instead grant franchises based on roadworthiness.
Delgra acknowledged that most trucks in the country are more than 15 years old, although “a number of them (operators)” are now “substituting their units with new and compliant trucks.” The LTFB chief hopes more will become compliant during the transition period.
DOTr undersecretary for road transport and infrastructure Mark Richmund De Leon, during the same Nov 21 press conference, said LTFRB is procuring 26 mobile inspection units for its MVIS.
DOTr has also issued an order authorizing private companies to operate 200 MVIS and is now drafting the implementing rules and regulations on the accreditation of private operators. The draft IRR is expected to be completed in six months.
Trucking organizations Aduana Business Club, Inc., Haulers and Truckers Association in the Watersouth, Inc., and INHTA, together with the Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines had originally planned to have a “Customs Brokers, Port Truckers Day of Rest” from Nov 19 to 24 but the protest was suspended starting Nov 21 pending talks between protesting groups and government agencies. – Roumina Pablo
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