Overloading of PUJs to be punished

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance penalizing the overloading of passengers of jeepneys, taxis, school services and other modes of public transport other than those specified as their seating capacity.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Lilia A. Fariñas stated that it shall be unlawful for all jeepneys, taxis, school services and other modes of public transport in the city to overload their vehicles to more than the seating or loading capacity as indicated in their vehicles, regardless of the stature or age of their passengers.

Under the proposed ordinance, any person found violating the pertinent provisions shall be penalized by a fine of P500 for the first offense, a fine of P1,000 for the second offense, a fine of P3,000 and one month suspension to operate the public transport for the third offense, and a fine of P5,000 and revocation of the license to operate the public transport for the fourth offense.

In the ordinance, despite the reiteration of existing national laws through various resolutions enacted by the local legislative body for the observance of public transport and for the apprehension of the Baguio City Police Office – Traffic Management Branch, there still persists a problem with overloading among public utility vehicles plying the city.

According to her, some public utility vehicles take advantage of children who are pupils and students to add more passengers, and on account of their small statures go over the prescribed seating capacity.

The local legislator stipulated that the malpractice of public utility vehicle drivers and operators in the city does not only pack the public transport, especially for school services to the inconvenience of the other passengers, but it is also an unprofessional and unethical business practice that prejudice the safety and comfort of the passengers.

She asserted the fact that the local government must enact the necessary measures that will ensure an exemplary child-friendly status to comply with the national directive for child-friendly cities deserving of a Seal of Good Local Governance for others to emulate.

Chapter 3, Article III, Section 32 of Republic Act (RA) 4136, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic code of the Philippines, provides that no person operating any vehicle shall allow more passengers or freight or cargo in his vehicle than its registered carrying capacity.

Further, Section 33 of the same law provides that all passenger automobiles for hire shall have the registered passenger capacity plainly and conspicuously marked on both sides of the vehicles in letters and numerals not less than 5 centimeters in height.

Observers noted that the overloading of public utility vehicles usually happen during rush hours in the mornings and in the evenings where people flock to their schools, workplaces and other transactions or on their way home considering the alleged inadequate number of public transport vehicles plying the various routes inside and outside the city.

By Dexter A. See

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