MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade to fire all Land Transportation Office (LTO) officials and personnel assigned in a truck weighing station in Nueva Vizcaya.
In a press statement on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President's instruction comes "following complaints by truck owners of extortion activities amounting to millions of pesos every month".
Bring them to me in Malacanang and I will personally squeeze their faces, Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said in a Facebook post quoting the President as saying.
Pinol said Duterte has also ordered to relieve Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) personnel manning the truck weighing station.
He said trucks loaded with agricultural commodities are required to go through the weighing scale to determine whether the trucks are overloaded.
The traders said this is being made as an excuse to extort between Php500 to Php1,000 per truck whose operators have no choice but to pay up to avoid delay and inconvenience, Pinol said.
Pinol said as many as 1,000 trucks pass through the weighing scale everyday and the extorted money amounts to between Php500,000 to Php1 million daily, or up to Php30 million every month.
The traders reported to the President that the illegal activities have been going on for over 10 years now.
Pinol said highway extortion activities result in higher prices of food commodities in the market because traders pass on the added cost to the consumers.
He said Duterte was known to have dealt with corrupt policemen and highway patrol personnel even when he was still mayor in Davao City. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency