Davao City- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Sunday both traffic enforcers and the military who are manning the checkpoints to apprehend tricycle drivers who will continue using the national roads.
The move was in response to a recent accident involving a tricycle which plied along the national highway in Sirawan, Toril last week.
Tricycle driver Manolito Balagon and his passenger Manuel Mercado died after the tricycle collided with a bus last October 10.
Duterte said that he actually saw the video footage of the incident captured in a closed-circuit television (CCTV).
The tricycle burst in flame after it suddenly crossed the opposite lane on the left and collided with the approaching bus.
“The problem is there are vehicles which are allowed to use public roads, highways and avenues, and there are those which are not allowed, and this includes passenger tricycles,” Duterte said during his weekly program Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa.
Duterte said that the apprehension of these tricycles are not always consistent because the authorities including himself take pity of the situation of the erring drivers.
“If you order our police and the military to apprehend them they will do so but then sometimes they keep a blind eye like what I do because we take pity on them,” Duterte said.
“I pity them because that’s their only source of living,” he said.
Chapter 9, Section 71, Article J of the Code of Ordinances of Davao City, prohibits tricycles from operating on national highways.
Duterte reprimanded the tricycle drivers who continue to violate the city ordinance.
“Even the “closed-cabs” are not allowed to ply along national highways,” he said. “Especially the ‘payong-payong’ (sidecar motors).”
Duterte said that it was the drivers who “asked for these accidents.”
“You are not supposed to be there,” he said.
Duterte also said that the Ombudsman in Mindanao may file a case against him as a public official if he would not act on the issue.
“I could be imprisoned. If the Ombudsman would see this they would ask what have I done and why did I neglect this? There is nonfeasance, when I failed to do what I must have done which is really to ban you in using public highways,” he said.
“My obligation is to protect everybody,” Duterte added.
The accident has also prompted the city council to ban tricycles along national highways.
Last week City Councilor Bernard Al-ag urged the Traffic Management Center (TMC) and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) to strictly prohibit tricycles along national highways.
He also passed another resolution urging the land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to “open a new jeepney route franchise from crossing Baracatan to Toril Poblacion.” (davaotoday.com)