Higher Traffic Violation Fines Add Burden to Drivers

In a statement late last March, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza said the increase in traffic violation fines has the objective of instilling traffic discipline and promote road safety. “With the increase in the number of accidents occurring daily, it is high time we properly implement the rules and impose stricter fines and penalties to prevent laxity and to build a culture of safety among our road users,” Mendoza said.

“These penalties are not excessive compared to the discipline it will instill,” Mendoza added.

The issue, however, is not that simple, said San Mateo. “The government blames everything on the drivers while abdicating its responsibility,” he pointed out. “There are three Es in road safety: engineering, which means roads should be user-friendly and accident-free; education; and enforcement.”

Last April 14, the House Committee on Transportation, chaired by Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella, held a hearing on the implementation of DO 2008-39. The hearing, San Mateo said, was the product of two resolutions: House Resolution No. 1065 authored by Bayan Muna (People First) Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño, and HR 1075 authored by Puentevella. These resolutions were filed after a series of consultations and dialogues that Piston held with Bayan Muna and Puentevella.

The committee has recommended that Malacañang suspend the implementation of DO 2008-39. Malacañang has yet to heed this recommendation.

Piston’s regional chapters have held a series of local strikes to protest DO 2008-39. These strikes have managed to paralyze as much as 95 percent of public transport in the areas where they were held, and San Mateo has hinted at the possibility of a nationwide strike if DO 2008-39 continues to be implemented. (Bulatlat.com)

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