Anti-overloading still a problem in Pampanga

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    Aside from the cutting of Acacia trees along MacArthur Highway, Pampanga still has a huge problem at hand. All provincial roads are gravely damaged by overloaded trucks hauling sand and gravel. The anti-overloading law is not strictly implemented in the province causing serious damages on our road networks.

    The overloading issue should have been resolved last year when the truckers themselves agreed to strictly follow the law. However, a faction of the Pampanga Truckers Association opposed their own president, Mike Tapang of Porac and refused to recognize the measures imposed by the provincial government in relation to the anti-overloading campaign.

    Because of the failure on the part of Gov. Eddie Panlilio to implement the anti-overloading program, the province is again facing a gargantuan problem as most of its roads are collapsing one by one.

    If you pass by the Cut-Cut intersection where hundreds of sand and gravel trucks pass everyday, you will notice the big potholes and uneven pavement. The road from the intersection all the way to Sta. Cruz and Senura in Porac is totally damaged causing imminent threat to motorists and the riding public. Parts of Mac Arthur Highway and again, the Circumferential Road are full of holes and dents with eroded asphalt that causes dilapidation to vehicles.

    The Land Transportation Office (LTO) seems to be sleeping on its task to penalize overloaded trucks. The canny truck owners have also put extra axle in their vehicles although the tires do not really work. The tires are just attached to the axle but they do not really touch the road. They are literally hanging. And I can only assume that the LTO officers see this trick everyday but they do not ban these trucks from plying their routes or doing business. Remember that based on the anti-overloading law, the measurement of load is measured by axle. So the more load, the more axles needed to prevent overloading. But the truckers only put the axle and the “hanging” tires but not really carrying the extra load.

    And while the local government units and the LTO are doing nothing, at least one company continues to check on the violators.

    The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) recently inaugurated its latest anti-overloading device.  MNTC president & CEO Rod Franco explained that the Weigh-In-Motion is the latest innovation installed by MNTC, NLEX builder and concessionaire, to bolster its anti-overloading campaign.  The tollway corporation strengthens its drive against overloading to promote road safety along the world-class expressway.

    The recent inauguration at the Balintawak toll plaza was also attended by Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Bert Suansing, Sol Genota of DPWH, Tollways Management Corporation (TMC) President & CEO Ramon Fernandez, MNTC vice president Marlene Ochoa, and Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP).

    MNTC ensures NLEX’s safety and convenience to motorists by continuously maintaining its conmdition. And part of its maintenance is to ban overloaded trucks along the expressway. Unfortunately, the MNTC can only monitor as much. Several sand and gravel trucks that are deliberately overloaded still find ways how to reach Manila without being detected. Others pass by the old Mac Arthur road via Manila North Road.

    Every year, both the national and the local government spend so much money for rehabilitating and repairing our roads. Imagine the billions of pesos wasted due to overloading. Consider a road infrastructure that should be usable for 10 years can only last three years because of overloading. There is no need for detailed study on this. All you have to do is look closely on the roads where the sand and gravel trucks pass by everyday and you will find that all of them are damaged.

    The Sta, Rita-Porac road is also a ruined infrastructure. This is not to mention the FVR east lateral dike service road. The service road is only passable to light vehicles but highly canny and enterprising truckers use the road. Today, the Del Rosario portion in the City of San Fernando is totally damaged. It poses serious threat to motorists.

    The LGUs must do something about this problem on overloading. The fourth district mayors earlier joined forces to ban overloaded trucks passing through their area. I think other LGUs can adopt their campaign. The Pampanga Truckers Association should also be responsible on what they do. They should have a conscience and stop overloading their trucks if only to help the government save money.

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