February 14, 2024

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos on Tuesday vowed to go after groups and individuals behind extortion activities victimizing truckers and delivery drivers in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

Abalos made the assurance following a meeting with the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) who complained that the extortionists were deliberately disregarding Executive Order No. 41, which lifts collection of pass-through fees for trucks and other vehicles transporting goods.

“It has been a fruitful meeting, at ang gusto ng lahat ay ([matupad] ang bilin ng ating Pangulo, ang ease of doing business, para dire-diretso ang delivery ng ating mga trucks dito para wala ng problema,” Abalos said.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. through the EO 41 issued last September 25, ordered the local government units (LGUs) to suspend the collection of “pass-through fees” to ensure the efficient movement of goods across regions aligned with the strategies to revitalize local industries under the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

EO 41 also aims to lessen the expenses of truckers and hasten travel time, that would result in lower prices of goods in the market especially food and agricultural products.

Abalos said daily operations will be initiated by the police to arrest and put behind bars individuals and groups that are involved in extortion activities victimizing truck drivers.

“Ang sumbong sa amin ng CTAP ay may mga iilang nangongotong. So, these are the elements na lilinisin natin,” Abalos said.

“Maganda na ang EO 41, lahat sumunod na, pero dahil sa mga iilang tao na ito ay nagkakaroon ng problema. Hindi naman tama iyon,” he continued.

Abalos likewise said that among the agreements reached during the meeting was the assurance that the MMDA and City of Manila will not impose any truck ban.

He added that the DILG will also examine city routes of trucks which are within the jurisdiction of the local government units.

Also being studied is nationwide truck routes which will be done in consultation with other national government agencies.

The DILG Chief also mentioned that the measures initiated to address the issues laid down by CTAP will strictly be monitored after one month to ensure progress and compliance from all parties involved.

Abalos stressed: “When we implement what we’ve agreed on, importante may timeline. Kung walang timeline, nagbobolahan lang tayo dito.”

Those who attended the closed-door meeting were CTAP president Maria Zapata, MMDA Chairman Atty. Romando Artes, PNP Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda, Jr., DILG Undersecretary Marlo Iringan, and representatives from the local government units of the City of Manila and Quezon City.

Original Article at: https://www.dilg.gov.ph/news/Abalos-vows-crackdown-vs-extortion-gang-preying-on-truckers/NC-2024-1028