5th District Congressman Ambrosio 'Boy' Cruz. Photo from his official Facebook account

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan–Fifth District Congressman Ambrosio Cruz Jr. has asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to certify as urgent House Bill 2949 which he earlier filed that would increase the penalty for overloaded trucks including forfeiture of the vehicles to finally address the unabated wreckage of Bulacan highways that earns the province the “lubakan” moniker.

In the August 4 received letter by the Office of the President, Cruz appealed the helpless branding of Bulacan as “lubakan” because of uncontrolled and unmonitored passage of heavy loaded trucks and trailers on its major national, access including provincial roads.

“I would also like to kindly request your honor to certify the bill as urgent. It will be a great help and support to my cause if we would be able to highlight the passage of the bill,” Cruz letter said.

RA 2949, “An Act Increasing the Penalty for Overloading Trucks and Trailers, Amending for the Purpose Sections 7 and 8 of RA 8794, the Anti-Overloading Law or the Act of Imposing a Motor Vehicle User’s Charge on Owners of All Types of Motor Vehicles for Other Purposes as Amended by RA 11239” was filed by Cruz in Congress on Aug. 1. 

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ongoing repair and rehabilitation of the sections of Manila North Road in Bocaue town that were heavily damaged by overloaded trucks over the years. Photo by Anton Catindig

The Bill provides a P50,000, P100, 000 and P150,000 first offense, second offense and third offense penalties respectively to violators to RA 8794 or the Anti Overloading law and even forfeiture of the vehicle after a one month non payment of the fine and no claim of the vehicle. 

Under the law, the truck will be impounded by the Department of Transportation (DOTR) which failure to pay the fine in a month’s time will result to forfeiture. The law also limits the loaded being transported goods to only 33,000 kilograms or 36 tons. 

The law also provides for local government units to man the weighing scales and would give them an enticing 50% share in the penalties. 

Cruz also asked the President to lift the suspension of the implementation of RA 8794. He said since RA 8794 was passed in 2000, its implementation was several times deferred due to appeal of truckers and haulers to give them sufficient time to comply with the required gross vehicle weight and acquire the needed vehicles and facilities. 

“I would like to respectfully appeal to your good office to lift the implementation of RA 8795 which has been deferred so many times since its passage in 2000 due to the request of the truckers. In order to achieve the main objective of the law which is to address the problem of continuous and costly road damages,” the letter also said.

Since the suspension, Cruz said,  Bulacan’s 26 kilometer Manila North Road from Calumpit to Bocaue, particularly Guiguinto, Balagtas and Bocaue and portions of City of Malolos and Calumpit to be wrecked due to potholes caused by the heavy loaded trucks transporting quarry materials like aggregates, sand, marble, boulders and different agricultural products from Northern and Central Luzon bound to Bulacan and Metro Manila. 

The heavily damaged and in wreck portions of Manila North Road in Guiguinto town. Photo by Anton Catindig

He also cited in his letter, Guiguinto’s 4km access road to Plaridel Bypass that are heavily devastated because of overloaded trucks and trailers from the eastern part of Bulacan, from Nueva Ecia and from Cagayan Valley Region.

Under RA 8794, or the Anti Overloading Law, trucks, cargos and trailers are only allowed to carry and transport 41,500-42,000 kilos or 45-46 tons which violators were fined with 25% of the amount of their motor vehicle owner’s charge. 

Cruz said truckers and haulers blatantly violate these provisions with 70-80 tons load of  rice, other crops, aggregates, sand, marble, boulders, etc. and other quarry materials that wreck Bulacan’s national, access and even provincial roads. 

Bocaue Mayor Eduardo Villanueva Jr. told media men that his first order after he assumed post on July 1 was to order stop all overloaded trucks in entering and using Bocaue’s provincial and inner access roads.

Bocaue Mayor Jonjon ‘JJV” Villanueva. Photo from his official Facebook page

Villanueva said overloaded trucks and trailers avoid the weighing scale in Bocaue area of the south bound lane of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) by exiting in Bocaue interchange and passing along Barangay Turo going to MNR which caused the destruction of provincial roads in Turo and the MNR Bocaue sections.

He said he had already put in placed traffic personnel who by merely looking can already determine overloaded trucks which were prevented from passage. 

Villanueva said the ongoing DPWH repair and rehabilitation of the MNR in their town will again be wasted if no strong law will be implemented for the truckers and haulers to obey.