Southern Tagalog transport group holds protest-caravan against higher fines

Drivers and operators from different associations under the Southern Tagalog Region Transport Sector Organization – PISTON (STARTER-PISTON) held a protest-caravan from San Pedro, Laguna to Sto. Tomas, Batangas to condemn the recently implemented joint administrative order from the Land Transportation Office and Department of Transportation and Communications directing higher fines and fees for traffic violations.

Around 200 jeepney drivers and operators held a protest caravan from San Pedro, Laguna to Sto. Tomas, Batangas on Thursday to condemn the recent joint administrative order from the LTO and DOTC that directs higher fines and fees for traffic violations.

The group insisted that the order was a moneymaking scheme from the Aquino administration.

Major fines include P50000 for unregistered, and out of line vehicles. Fines for other traffic rules and regulations violations range from P1000 to P5000.

“The implementation of the order reveals how heartless the Aquino administration is. Drivers barely earn P500 a day because of the increasing prices in petroleum products, vis-a-vis the rising costs of living. Despite this, the government still has the guts to squeeze money out of the blood and sweat of drivers and operators—even if the transport sector has repeatedly registered its disapproval of such schemes.” Teodoro Elevencione, Southern Tagalog Region Transport Sector Organization Regional Coordinator said.

In 2008, a similar order was released by the DOTC. The said order was immediately scrapped following a Motion for Reconsideration filed by PISTON, which was granted at the Regional Trial Court in Baguio. However, it was still implemented in five municipalities in Northern Luzon, as well as in other regions including the National Capital Region and Southern Tagalog.

“We have seen how these moneymaking schemes have promoted the already rampant corruption in the country—like the pork barrel scam, these fines are huge sources of kickbacks for officials of all levels in the government. Implementing sky-high fines and fees is not the solution to rampant traffic violations.” Elevencione added.

“It is only by resolving the basic problems—such as skyrocketing oil and other commodity prices, unemployment, corruption, and the inaccessibility of social services—that will elevate the people’s quality of living, including that of the transport sector, and therefore enable them to follow rules and regulations to promote a better transportation system for the people.

“Workers are one with the transport sector in calling for the immediate scrapping of the joint administration order. When drivers suffer from very high fines and fees, workers, who are the primary commuters and depend on public transportation everyday, are affected. The order reflects how Aquino treats the Filipino people—a far cry from how he prioritizes the needs and interests of foreign capitalists and oil cartels. His tuwid na daan is an exclusive road to more riches for his real bosses—enough reason for all oppressed people to call for his ouster. This is only a prequel to bigger, stronger, and more intense actions to put that goal into reality.” Hermenegildo Marasigan, Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) Spokesperson, ended.###


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