BAGUIO CITY — Warning drivers they can be caught on the road for smoke-belching, the transportation and communication department Wednesday said this indicate alleged anomalies in the registration and licensing of motor vehicles and drivers.
Dir. Federico Mandapat, regional director of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC-CAR), in a press conference cited the case of a vehicle originating from the lowlands, which was caught recently.
“Its plate number ended with the number five, meaning its registration was renewed just a month ago,” Mandapat disclosed. He explained that before a vehicle’s registration could be renewed, it should have undergone a thorough inspection, including smoke emission.
Mandapat said smoke emission test findings is usually valid up to two months, insinuating an anomaly in the renewal of the said vehicle’s registration.
There have been 187 apprehensions since DOTC-CAR embarked on roadside apprehension lately. Of this 162 have re-calibrated their engines and settled with the department, the rest have yet to comply with the provision of the Clean Air Act, according to Mandapat.
Authorized government agents confiscate the driver’s license and the vehicle’s plate, equivalent to suspension of the vehicle caught emitting black smoke, according to Mandapat. He said, fines range from P1,000, P2,000 and P3,000 for the first, second and third offense, respectively.
Mandapat also revealed there are cases of irregularly registered vehicles in the region. To date, there are only 3,600 registered taxi units, but several sources claim more than 7,000 units are plying city streets since some years ago.
The DOTC chief also traced, and warned commuters of, rolling coffins to some irregularities in the registration of vehicles.
“How could these be registered when these should have undergone a thorough inspection?” Mandapat himself could not answer his own question. He said, his office has initiated investigations against erring public officials involved in the anomaly.
Meanwhile, Juny Itliong, president of the public transport group Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association in Baguio City and La Union (FEJODABLU) called on his colleagues to convert their engines into an LPG-run engine to lessen air pollutants from public utility vehicles (PUV’s).
Itliong said only 120 units of taxi have availed of the LPG engines to date.
“We will try to minimize air pollutants with the use of clean fuel and engines,” he said when asked of his group’s action regarding a study that traced lead poisoning among drivers to the type of fuel used. # Lyn V. Ramo