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LTO rules habal-habal illegal

First Posted 13:36:00 04/02/2009

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Operation of motorcycle-for-hire popularly known as ?habal-habal? remains illegal.

Representatives of the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO-7) yesterday told the city council in a public hearing yesterday that the proposed ordinance regulating the operations of habal-habal would run counter with a national law that bans the use of motorcycles as commercial transportation.

While the LTO-7 understands that habal-habal is a preferred mode of transportation for residents in mountain barangays, the move to regulate its operations would be illegal, said Aden Belza LTO-7 assistant chief for operations.

He said that Republic Act 4136, also known as Land Transportation and Traffic Code, prohibits the use of motorcycles or scooters as public transportation.

The RA 4136 provides that ?no provincial board, city or municipal board or council shall enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution in conflict with the provisions of the law.?

The local government units should not also prohibit any deputy or agent of the Land Transportation Commission from enforcing the law within their respective territorial jurisdiction.

Councilors Augustus Pe Jr., Eugenio Faelnar, Sylvan Jakosalem, and Raul Alcoseba have sponsored a proposed ordinance that legalizes and regulates the use of motorcycle-for-hires.

They said they notice that these are preferred mode of transportation for people living in the mountain barangays.

Once the ordinance has been passed, city government will have collect annual fees from habal-habal operators to legalize its operation.

These include franchise fee of P500, filing fee of P100 per unit and business permit of P200 per unit.

Under the proposed ordinance, the drivers will be required to provide protective gears to passengers such as helmets and eye protective device and will not be allowed to transport children below seven years.

According to Belza, more than 1,000 habal-habal operators are plying the interior areas of the city that are not accessible by public utility jeepneys.

He, however, did not provide figures as to how many have been apprehended by the LTO for violating the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

Arnel Tancinco, Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) executive director, could not also provide figures of apprehension, because he said their operation against habal-habal drivers was still ongoing.

Belza told the city council to pass a resolution addressed to Congress, seeking an amendment to the code to exempt habal-habal drivers .

Cebu City Councilor Edgardo Labella, council committee chairman on laws, however, suggested to Belza that the LTO, as implementor of the law, should ask Congress to amend the code to either exempt habal-habal operations from the code or allow the local government units to regulate it.

Belza said he would have to study and formulate provisions that habal-habal operators should comply first before they will be allowed to operate legally.

The LTO will then their recommendation to the congressmen in Central Visayas for consideration.

It will be up the legislators if they will use the LTO recommendation as basis to amend the traffic code.

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