Press Releases

Salceda files bill to protect rights of delivery riders and motorists, cap penalties on minor traffic violations for transport workers

August 10th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) has filed a measure to enshrine a bill of rights for motorists in the Traffic Code, and to cap penalties for those who drive vehicles for a living.

House Bill No. 3423, or the Motorist Protection and Rights Act, aims to enshrine a bill of rights for motorists in Republic Act No. 4136 or the Traffic Code of the Philippines, which was originally enacted in 1964. The measure also stipulates drivers’ duties to pedestrians.

Likewise, the measure caps penalties for minor local traffic violations. For first offenses, Salceda proposes that the cap be the applicable daily minimum wage, and twice the same rate for succeeding offenses.

The bill also requires the setting up of a traffic adjusdication body in every local government to ensure that motorists can contest citations. The bill also allows drivers of “a vehicle for hire, or a vehicle otherwise used, as authorized by law and appropriate regulations, to convey passengers and goods for a fee inuring to the driver, as in the case of transport network vehicle services” such as delivery riders, to appeal for alternative penalties such as community service if they are unable to pay the penalty. Appeals can also be made on mitigating circumstances such as driving towards a medical emergency.

“The point of traffic laws is orderly transport, not punishment. The penalties, especially for local minor traffic violations, can go as high as P3,500 for first offense. That is confiscatory, and it sets up room for negotiating with the traffic authorities. The child of confiscatory penalties is kotong,” Salceda said.

“I don’t think it’s right that we should charge Grab drivers and delivery rides a week’s worth of wages for offenses that are minor.”

“Besides, sometimes apprehension is not even clear.”

Salceda pointed out that his bill also guarantees the right “to complete, clear, and reasonable definitions of traffic violations.”

Salceda also pointed out the lack of grievance or appeals mechanisms under the no-contact apprehension policy.

“While we have established the no-contact apprehension policy to avoid kotong, the system does not always have an accessible appeals mechanism. While the LTO has the Traffic Adjudication Division, not all LGUs have the same system. So, as a result, any arbitrary charge can be made on the driver, but there is no guarantee of due process.”

“Due process is a constitutional guarantee, no matter how small the charge is.”

The features of the bill are as follows:

  1. The motorists’ bill of rights, which would outline the limits and parameters of traffic enforcement and protect the welfare of motorists, including the right to clear definitions of traffic violations, given the usual complaint that definitions are so arbitrary as to allow any road movement to be counted as some form of violation;
  2. A list of duties of motorists to pedestrians, to ensure the safety of non-motorist users of roads;
  3. A cap on minor local traffic violations, which shall not exceed the minimum wage for the first count, and twice the minimum wage for every succeeding count;
  4. A requirement that all local government units designate an office for traffic adjudication;
  5. Motorists who drive vehicles for hire or used for a living, such as food delivery riders, may appeal for a reduction of penalties based on mitigating circumstances and capacity to pay; or may ask for an alternative form of payment, such as community service;
  6. Requirement that the setting of penalties for traffic offenses should be consulted with stakeholders;
  7. Review by the Secretary of Transportation of local traffic penalty schedules; and
  8. Annual report by the Secretary of Transportation to Congress on the status of appeals mechanisms established under this proposal.

“In a country with 1.7 million transport sector workers, and where workers spend 3 hours a day on the road, motorist rights are economic rights and labor rights. They are essential to the dignity of labor,” Salceda said.

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