ENFORCING the ban on tricycles and pedicabs on highways and other main roads requires a large dose of political will and collective action among local government officials in the Philippines.
Admittedly, cellular telephone-using tricycle drivers have replaced the familiar bare-footed rig drivers (kutsero) as “Kings of the Roads” in many parts of this impoverished Southeast Asian country.
But aware of the dangers of allowing these three-wheeled vehicles to use our main roads, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the strict enforcement of the ban.
In his order to city and town mayors, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Año, a former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the ban should be enforced not only in the metropolis but elsewhere.
The retired four-star military general, in his directive, cited the various hazards posed by tricycles and pedicabs to other motor vehicles, the commuting public and even to the drivers themselves.
“For safety reasons, no tricycle or pedicab should operate on national highways used by four-wheeled vehicles greater than four tons and where normal speed exceeds 40 kilometers per hour,” he said.
Año said that while the government recognizes that tricycles and pedicabs provide livelihood and income both in urban and rural areas, allowing them on main thoroughfares is not allowed by law.
Under the law, if there are no alternative routes, the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan may allow these three-wheeled vehicles to just traverse national highways and main roads.
The commuting public, particularly in the countryside, welcomed the directive of Año considering the mushrooming number of tricycles and pedicabs being involved in road accidents.
And hopefully local government officials start going after over-charging and other abusive tricycle drivers, who are menace to society.