Truckers ask LTFRB to rethink phaseout of old units

Truckers held a rally in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) office in Quezon City on Monday to pressure the agency to suspend its policy ordering the phaseout of trucks 15 years old and above.

Under the Non-Confirmation Year (NCY) policy which it started implementing in 2014 to solve the congestion problem at the Port of Manila, the LTFRB will no longer confirm the franchise validity for units made 15 years ago or more while the Land Transportation Office will no longer renew the unit’s registration.

But according to Teddy Gervacio, president of the Integrated North Harbor Truckers’ Association which led the protest caravan, it should be road worthiness—not the year model—

that should be the basis of any phaseout policy.

“Just because a truck is old doesn’t mean it’s dangerous on the road. In a recent meeting, even LTFRB Chairperson [Winston Ginez] agreed that road worthiness should be the basis of the phaseout. [They] should suspend their current phaseout policy now,” Gervacio said.

The LTFRB, meanwhile, stressed that it was not deaf to the truckers’ concerns. In a phone interview, Ginez acknowledged the issue was “an urgent matter” as they didn’t want to cause a shortage of trucks.

“We are finding ways for road worthiness to be the final consideration. We are studying a moratorium [on the policy] as part of discussions on the matter, but we are still firming up the policy with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC),” he said in a phone interview.

LTFRB public information officer Mary Ann Salada added that the agency was discussing possible amendments to the policy with the DOTC.

According to Gervacio, truckers were slowly being “killed off” because of the NCY policy, saying that since last year, around 2,000 to 3,000 trucks have been phased out. He warned that of around 300,000 trucks nationwide, 80 percent would end up being taken off the roads as a result.

According to him, trucks “are an important part of the country’s economy because we ensure the efficient and continuous flow of products to factories and stores.”

Gervacio pointed out that most trucks currently being sold in the Philippines were manufactured 15 to 19 years ago. “Why would they allow old trucks to be sold here, then tell us they’re not allowed [to be on the road]?” he said.

According to him, the cheapest trucks that would comply with the NCY policy would cost P2.7 million each. With the trucks to be phased out, “it will cost us P53 billion [to replace them]. We don’t have that much money. Even the government wouldn’t be able to lend us that much. So how are we supposed to refleet?”

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