DOTC orders 38 and 39 not yet suspended, transport strike on 29 continues

Apr. 27, 2009

DAVAO CITY — Militant drivers under the Transport of Southern Mindanao for Solidarity, Independence and Nationalism (Transmision) said there is no truth to claims by pseudo-progressive drivers’ federation that the implementation of the DOs (Department orders) no. 38 and 39 hiking drivers’ penalties is already suspended.

“Contrary to news last week that the DOTC orders 38 and 39 have already been suspended by congress, the said orders are still in effect,” Transmision-Piston secretary general Edil Gonzaga said. “Drivers are all set to protest against this order on April 29’s transport strike to assert its nullification by Congress and by the Arroyo government through the DOTC,”

The transport group noted that there is an enabling law through Republic Act 4136 which provides that it is Congress, not Malacaang or the DOTC and Land Transportation Office (LTO), that has the authority to revise fines and penalties. He added that during the April 21 hearing of the House Committee on Transportation there was a recommendation for the suspension of the DOTC orders because legal questions regarding its implementation. The House committee also asked the DOTC to come up with its position within one week and for it to inform the Department of Justice to settle its legal questions.

The hearing is a product of House Resolution No. 1065 filed last March 23, 2009 by Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casio directing the Committee on Transportation to conduct an immediate inquiry on the DOTC orders no. 38 and 39.

“The DOTC merely said they will seriously consider the committee’s recommendation but at the end of the day, it is the DOTC and the Malacaang who are decisive here. We have to consider that congressmen (Monico) Puentevella, (Antonio) Cerilles and (Bienvenido) Abante, who are members of the Transport Committee, are major allies of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. They can always take back their recommendation to suspend (these orders) if DOTC can circumvent the law and assert for their continued implementation”, Gonzaga added.

He stressed that while drivers hail the committee’s favorable position, there is no reason for optimism. “We should not let our guards down. We should assert for the scrapping of DO 38 and 39. We are all set to continue with our transport strike on April 29. The local LTO has already expressed that it will continue to implement the order, ” Gonzaga concluded.

The first hearing of the Committee on Transportation under the chairmanship of congressman Puentevella of Negros Occidental was set in the office of DOTC and was only attended by the federation influenced by 1-Utak. The second hearing was attended by the federation of drivers and operators of jeepneys and buses from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in which the major presentor was Piston, the major transport federation where the local Transmision is affiliated.

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