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DOTr-LTFRB: Enough ‘Breathing Space’ for Truckers to Modernize Units

The Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (DOTr-LTFRB) assured sufficient and reasonable period is given to owners and operators of trucking companies to comply with the road worthiness policy of the agency, as part of its modernization agenda.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III explained trucking operators may apply for “drop and substitute” for their non-compliant units during the transition period, while awaiting the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS). Eventually, units that fail to pass safety certification from MVIS centers will be required to “drop” and “substitute” it with units that pass the MVIS standards.

Non-compliant units are described under DOTr’s Department Order (DO) No. 2017-09 as franchise-covered buses- and trucks-for-hire older than 15 years.

“Notwithstanding, there is a transition period that gives a breathing space for the truckers to modernize. Hindi na sila maghihintay na maitayo ‘yung MVIS para malaman natin kung roadworthy ang isang truck o hindi. Ngayon pa lang meron nang nakatalaga na polisiya (They don’t have to wait for the MVIS to be put up to know if a truck is roadworthy or not. We already have a policy on it already),” Delgra pointed out.

The transition period to modernize buses- and trucks-for-hire is from 30 June 2017 to 30 June 2020, according to LTFRB Memorandum Circular (MC) 2018-017.

The LTFRB Chairman is confident more modern and new trucks will ply on roads during the transition period, citing a number of owners and operators have started complying and substituting their units into new and compliant trucks.

“As a policy direction of the Department of Transportation under Secretary Arthur Tugade, road safety is given high priority. We have heard of those trailer trucks that meet accidents. Ilan na ang namatay? Ilang beses na ‘yan (How many have died? How many times has it happened), so those are the instances we are trying to avoid,” Delgra added.

According to DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark De Leon, the DOTr is currently drafting a Department Order that will accredit private MVIS companies, which currently operate over 200 inspection service centers throughout the country, to conduct the road worthiness test. On top of this, the LTO is in the process of procuring 26 mobile inspection units.

On Monday, November 19, some groups from small, independent trucking companies commenced a six-day protest against DO No. 2017-09.

“For the DOTr road sector, we are very clear na wala naman na tayong 15-year rule, and MVIS na ang magiging basis ng ating modernization plan (that we don’t have a 15-year rule, and the MVIS will be the basis of our modernization plan). So if there are still any questions with that 15-year rule, we are open for dialogue,” De Leon said.

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