GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Oct) – After hearing complaints of travel delays and the high cost of penalties, the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 is pushing for the review and amendment of the speed limit ordinances of local government units (LGUs) in the area to ensure that they are aligned with existing national regulations and laws.
Alfredo Bronx Hebrona Jr., chair of the RDC-12’s Infrastructure and Utilities Development Committee (InfraCom), said such move was a result of a recent special consultative meeting called by the committee to address concerns regarding the implementation of speed limit ordinances in the region.
He said they specifically hosted the meeting to look into various complaints raised by concerned sectors on speed limit ordinances of Tupi and Polomolok towns in South Cotabato.
The municipal council of Tupi passed last April Ordinance No. 688 that sets the speed limit at 80 kilometers per hour (kph) along the national highway and 40 kph with the town proper or Poblacion area.
Polomolok councilors later passed a similar measure, specifically Ordinance No. 12, which sets speed limits of 50 to 60 kph in portions of the national highway traversing the municipality.
Republic Act 4136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines) specifies a speed limit of 80 kph along highways, or “on open country roads, with no ‘blind corners’ not closely bordered by habitations.” But trucks and buses are required to go slower at 50kph. On city and municipal streets “with light traffic,” speed limit is 30 kph, unless it’s a “through street” or boulevards with no traffic or no blind corners, then limit is 40 kph. But in crowded streets, speed limit is 20 kph.
Hebrona said both ordinances, as noted by the two LGUs, were meant to prevent and reduce the number of road accidents due to reckless driving and over speeding.
But while many were relieved over the significant decrease in the number of road accidents in the areas covered by the speed limit ordinances, he said some have complained over travel delays and the high cost of penalties.
“These mixed reactions prompted us to call for a consultative meeting on the matter,” Hebrona said.
During the meeting, he said they found out that the local governments of Tupi and Polomolok have been imposing higher penalties when compared to the provisions of RA 4136.
He specifically cited the provision that imposed a 30-day imprisonment for repeated violations of the ordinances.
Issues were also raised regarding the confiscation of a driver’s license and the issuance of Temporary Operator’s Permit or TOP and citation tickets for violators.
TOPs are issued by deputized personnel of the Land Transportation Office for motorists who violate national laws.
Citation tickets are issued to motorists who violate local traffic-related ordinances. TOPs are later issued in place of the citation tickets if the penalties are not settled within three days.
In a statement, Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo acknowledged the concerns raised regarding their ordinance and vowed to initiate a review for some of its provisions.
South Cotabato Vice Gov. Cecile Diel said there is a need for members of local legislative bodies to be well-informed about the provisions of national laws and noted that local ordinances must conform with them.
She said RA 4136 provides that “no provincial, city or municipal authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution specifying maximum allowable speeds other than those provided in this Act.”
“No matter how antiquated a law is, if they are not amended, they shall remain a law,” Diel added.