Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has branded as “pro-rich and anti-poor, which fails every test of socio-economic justice,” the recent Memo Circular of the Department of the Interior and Local Government banning tricycles from national highways.
In House Resolution No. 748, Salceda submitted to the House Transportation Committee, Salceda has called on the DILG to withdraw its Memo Circular 2020-036, which imposes the ban, as “it is extremely unjust and fails every test of reason, data-driven logic, socio-economic justice, and local autonomy.”
“And like all regulations that do not take into account actual human experience, it will fail massively,” said the lawmaker, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.
He urged the House Committee on Transportation to conduct public hearings on the issue to come up with better alternatives, since tricycles are “the only source of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of Filipino families.”
“These 4.5 million tricycles pay road users tax at almost P1.2 billion every year and pay excise tax and VAT on fuel amounting to around P52 billion per year, which partly funds the enormous budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways at P650 billion,” he said in his resolution.
Citing reports from both the World Health Organization and the Land Transportation Office, Salceda said 2017 records show that tricycles and motorcycles are safer than other vehicles.
Of some 7,023,529 registered tricycles and motorcycles in the country, there were 5,970 deaths recorded with a mortality percentage of 0.085%, while for other vehicles, there were 3,994,326 registered, with recorded 11,264 deaths, or 0.282%, he noted.
“The motorcycle issue is simply sensationalized; we are biased against motorcycles because they are splurged on the road when they figure in accidents, but look at the data. You are 300% more in danger when you ride or use vehicles other than tricycles or motorcycles,” Salceda pointed out.
“If cars are more unsafe, our policies should not be pro-cars only. In truth, what causes our traffic chaos? What vehicles are used by the wealthy which kill more people on the roads than motorcycles and tricycles? Cars, cars, cars,” he stressed in mixed English and Tagalog.
Salceda’s resolution also says that data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) in 2015 show that 56 percent of cars are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of the population.
“Since a tricycle ban is pro-car, it would be a policy that is both pro-rich and anti-poor, thus failing every test of socioeconomic justice,” he said.
Vulnerable segments of the population like persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and senior citizens are essentially served by the end-to-end service of tricycles, emphasizing the need for the safety of tricycles from cars, and not the safety of cars from tricycles, the solon said.
“Indeed, if cars are more dangerous, and less people can afford to buy cars, why should there be more stringent restrictions on tricycles? The logic of the ban fails so obviously and so completely, that it should be withdrawn immediately and be buried in the archives,” he added.
Salceda said his office is working on policy options that will help ensure equitable mobility.
“We are increasing the funds for PUV modernization to help jeepney drivers. We discourage more traffic chaos by adjusting motor vehicle taxes properly. And we are promoting a National Transportation Strategy (House Bill No. 306) that will promote better social equality and justice,” he said.
“Our country needs transportation justice – transport policies that are pro-poor, pro-vulnerable, humane, and inclusive, and not just for nice looking cars only. Our roads and highways are for everyone, not just for the wealthy alone,” Salceda said.