MMDA, LTO to begin crackdown on errant PUV drivers next week

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will begin apprehending public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers with hundreds of traffic violations starting next week. 

According to a report by The Philippine Star, MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia and LTO field enforcement division chief Roberto Valera received the initial list of 2,500 drivers who have committed hundreds of traffic violations since 2006. Most of the drivers in the list are city bus drivers.

Valera said that those who were issued a show cause order last week and should have been suspended from plying the road will also be flagged down.

During the meeting, bus operators lamented the latest crackdown on its drivers, saying that there are not enough drivers to replace the 2,500 who will be displaced.

Juliet De Jesus, managing director of the Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas, said that she is hoping that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) can step in to help operators fill in the scarcity of drivers in order to prevent a looming transport crisis.

“We find it difficult to hire drivers because of a scarcity,” De Jesus said, contrary to the MMDA’s earlier position that operators can tap into the unemployed work force to hire better drivers.

De Jesus said that although their drivers have committed basic road offenses such as beating traffic signs and violating the no loading/loading zone, they should not be considered “criminals.”

She said shouldering  expenses incurred for  traffic violations also hurts the operators.

“Their violations really concern discipline. But they are not criminals. The only thing is, they don’t mind committing these because somebody is answering for their violations,” she said.

Audie Secerio, general manager for Pamana Transport, said the company only utilized 60 to 70 percent of their fleet of buses because of this scarcity.

“There really is a scarcity of drivers and conductors, and we don’t know why. We know we can tap into the unemployed workforce. That’s why we are calling on Tesda to help produce drivers for hire,” Secerio said.

Even when the drivers are suspended from driving on the road, they may get back on the road after undergoing retraining, the authorities admitted.

However, Valera said that the LTO will consider revoking a license of an errant driver if there’s a “behavioral risk factor,” or whether or not the traffic offense poses a risk to the lives of the riding public. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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