Sugarcane planters, truckers oppose law on axle overloading

November 14, 2010 2:34 pm 

DUMAGUETE CITY, Nov. 13 -– A petition is now in the offing in Negros Oriental for a review, revision and possible repeal of Republic Act 8794 or the law against overloading of vehicles amid mounting protests coming from various sectors that it is causing confusion between enforcers and road users over its correct interpretation.

The calls for a moratorium on the implementation of the no overloading law comes just under a week after the Department of Public Works and Highways 2nd district office began collecting on November 8 corresponding penalties for vehicles carrying loads beyond the prescribed limit.

At a forum held Friday afternoon in Bais City, about an hour’s drive north of here, to discuss specific concerns on axle overloading, Mayor Edsel Enardecido of Ayungon town sought to suspend the implementation of the law while stakeholders craft a petition against it and submit the same to the three congressional representatives of Negros Oriental for action.

Enardecido, a sugarcane planter and who also owns cargo trucks, asked Edna Ravelo, planning engineer of the province’s DPWH 2nd district, during the forum for a possible moratorium pending their planned petition.

He noted that RA 8794 is detrimental to the sugar industry as it would mean added transport costs considering that sugarcane planters tend to overload the trucks to optimize its carrying capacity, particularly trucks that haul sugarcane from far-flung areas.

The forum was designed to get public opinion on the request of the DPWH for the Land Transportation Office to grant them authority to issue temporary operator’s permit, a citation ticket issued by deputized agents to those who violate traffic rules and regulations, said Janine Lawas, chief of the LTO-Bais district office.

Lawas said the DPWH had made the request as it began imposing penalties on overloaded trucks that passed through the DPWH’s weighing bridge station at Tamisu in Bais City.

She further explained that with the milling season about to commence on November 15, it is anticipated that trucks loaded with sugarcane will be plying the roads leading to the two sugar mills in Bais City and the adjacent town of Manjuyod.

According to Lawas, the law on overloading does not apply only to vehicles that carry sugarcane and copra, but to other motored vehicles as well.

Aden Belza, office-in-charge of the Operations Division of the LTO in Region 7, who was also present in the same forum, explained that RA 8794 does not solely cover axle overloading, but also ensures road safety for all users and even environmental concerns, particularly in relation to the Clean Air Act.

Belza also noted that one of the objectives of the Act is to slow down the wear-and-tear of roads that would cost the government, through the DPWH, huge amounts of money for maintenance and repair.

But, Mayor Enardecido insists that before the law is implemented, issues arising from it must be addressed first and in the interim, the DPWH must refrain from penalizing trucks that are found to be exceeding their prescribed load capacity.

One of the dangers of this law, he noted, is that additional costs may just have to be passed on to the public, he added.

Enardecido also said that the sugarcane industry in Negros Oriental is a major income earner and has been existing for a long time that laws like RA 8794 must be seriously considered before implementation. (PNA)



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