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BAO-BAO or tri-cabs are not technically illegal but they and other tri-wheel vehicles are prohibited from passing through the national roads, insisted officials at Cagayan de Oro City Hall last Monday.
“Bao-bao are not illegal per se, they are not like illegal drugs. But it is illegal for them to use the national highways. So those who sell or buy these units are not doing anything illegal but they should understand that their vehicles have restrictions on their use. That’s (the main point),” Atty. Edgardo Uy of Visayas during the press briefing last Monday at the City Information Office.
Uy, who is the chairman of the Rio de Oro Boulevard technical working group, together with Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) chief Engr. Nonito Oclarit and RTA consultant Andrew Tupag answered questions from the local media about the City Hall’s implementation of the ban on bao-baos, tricycles, and other three-wheeled vehicles along the national highway in Barangay Puerto that were reduced to one lane expansion.
“With or without (an ongoing road project) from the national government, the ban on three-wheeled vehicles on national roads and highways remains in effect… vehicles),” said Engr. According to Oclarit, referring to the road expansion project in Puerto by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Oclarit cited Memorandum Circular No. 2020-036 issued by the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) which orders local governments nationwide to implement the ban on tri-wheel vehicles from national roads and highways.
“Cagayan de Oro is (one of the few) local governments that have implemented that ban,” Oclarit said, adding that tri-wheel vehicles cause congestion on national roads.
“These tri-wheel vehicles especially the manually powered pedicabs and even the motorbikes (can’t keep up with the four-wheel vehicles) that can run more than 40 kilometers per hour on the national highway. That’s why the ban is for their safety,” said Oclarit in Visayas.
Despite this, Oclarit said that there are bao-bao owners who use their vehicles as public transportation to pay for their units quickly.
“These bao-baos are registered privately owned vehicles at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) but they have not yet been issued a permit or franchise to operate as a public utility vehicle,” said Oclarit.
Tupag said that they emphasized this point in the recent meeting of 450 bao-bao operators.
“They can only go through local or barangay roads but not national roads,” he said.
In response, the bao-bao operators said that only passengers such as mall employees and other workers cannot ride passenger jeeps or taxis at night or at dawn.
“That’s why we asked these transport groups—who complained about how the bao-boas reduced their income—to assign more units to pick up passengers at night or early in the morning,” said Tupag.
In the implementation of the DILG circular, Tupag said that the City Hall Task Force on the Puerto highway project will implement a total ban on tri-wheel vehicles from Barangay Bugo to the road project site on the Puerto highway.
Oclarit said that the DILG circular also ordered the barangays to implement the ban and as the leading traffic agency, the RTA is required to submit a monthly report on the implementation of the ban.
“The DILG circular does not recognize whether the tri-cab is used as a private or passenger vehicle, it is clear that they should be banned from national highways,” said Oclarit.
A composite team consisting of the RTA, LTO, Cagayan de Oro City police, and Highway Patrol Group (HPG) is tasked with the implementation of DILG Circular No. 2020-036, said Oclarit. (Stephen Capillas of the City Information Office)
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