GUIGUINTO, Bulacan— Overloaded trucks of goods and minerals from Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and other areas in north Luzon continue to traverse Bulacan’s major highways despite authorities strict enforcement of Republic Act (RA) 8794 or the Anti-Overloading Law.
Arnel Abrera Jr. team leader of Land Transportation Office (LTO) Region 3 assigned to watch and penalize drivers of overloaded trucks in Tabang Weighbridge station in this town said that since the stricter implementation in Bulacan of RA 8794 in November last year, about half of the 60-70 daily vehicles they weigh are overloaded or exceed the 13.5 metric tons per axle allowed by law.
These violators mostly are vehicles loaded with bags of rice, feed, mineral products like marble or limestone and gravel and sand from San Miguel town including from Nueva Ecija and Tarlac and other regions.
Pelagio Dela Cruz, Weighbridge Supervisor of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) First District Engineering Office which oversees the operations in Tabang Guiguinto and Binang, 1st Bocaue weigh stations said that from January to March 31, the LTO region and Central office which respectively man the two stations have already apprehended and issued tickets to 900 violators. But he said, including other violators, the overloaded trucks could reach more than 1,000 within the same period.
Henry Alcantara, head of the DPWH Bulacan First District Engineering OffiIce re-strengthened their anti-overloading checkpoints in the two areas of the Mac-Arthur highway where many sections are heavily damaged and which had caused folks to brand the province as “Bulacan—Lubakan”.
Abrera said that only trucks with loads coming from Pampanga passed the allowed 13,500 kilos per axle requirement under RA 8794. Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda in August last year strictly ordered truckers and haulers in his province to cut the sidings of the vehicles to regulate the loading capacity of the trucks.
Trucks from north and central Luzon which are bound to Metro Manila avoid the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) which strictly implements RA 8794 and use the Mac-Arthur highway instead.
Volumes of trucks pass along Mac-Arthur highway beyond the enforced truck ban hours between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, except on Sundays and holidays.
In August last year, Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando and Pineda enforced a stricter implementation of the said law to protect Bulacan and Pampanga’s major thoroughfares which were believed had been damaged because of the heavy loads of the trucks that exceeded the 13.5 kilograms per axle weight capacity. Fernando tapped the LTO and the traffic enforcers as additional personnel to support the DPWH in the operation of the Tabang and Bocaue weighbridge stations.
Fernando then also issued Executive Order No. 21 which banned the quarrying and mining of all mineral products in Bulacan and their transport to both help preserve the province’s natural wealth from illegal operations and the destruction of the national and provincial highways because of overloaded trucks.
Fernando only lifted the ban in October after truckers and haulers agreed to obey with the 13.5 kilos per axle load of their vehicles.
Bulacan Fifth District Rep. Ambrosio Cruz. Jr. , former mayor of this town had filed on Augist 1, 2022, 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”.
Assigned local government unit traffic enforcers flag down the heavy loaded trucks and order them to pass through the weigh station.
According to Michael Manalili, ticketing officer of LTO Tabang Team, once the vehicle exceeded the 13.5 kilos per axle load, the driver’s license of the truck driver will be confiscated and a ticket will be issued through Electronic Temporary Operator’s Permit (ETOP) bearing the details about the truck driver, the vehicle and the violation. The driver needs to redeem his license within 72-hours in the LTO Main Office in East Avenue, Quezon City. The ETOP will serve as temporary driver’s license only within three days.
Abrera said a violator in Tabang weighbridge that was issued tickets by the LTO were sent back and were not allowed to pass through anymore. However, those who insist can still proceed to Metro Manila and pass the Bocaue weighbridge (Philippine Arena area) but has to de-load their excess weights. More than 200 trucks pass daily in Bocaue weighbridge, it was learned.
John San Diego, Team Leader of DPWH Tabang weighbridge station said penalties and fines can only be determined in the LTO office based on the gross vehicle description details and which the amount varies depending on the vehicle and the goods.
Alcantara said that over the years, his office did not stop the operation of their weighbridges but they do not have the police power against the violators. He said Fernando’s order to tap the LTO helped them reinforced their anti-overloading operations.
Alcantara’s office including the Bulacan Second District Engineering Office continue to rehabilitate the heavily damaged portions in the 33 kilometre MacArthur Highway in Bulacan from Calumpit to the City of Meycauayan. Alcantara said they are now waiting for the budget to rehabilitate the still widely damaged portions of the MacArthur highway in this town.