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Officials to Meet with Truckers on New Overloading Guidelines

03 July 2013

PHILIPPINES - The Department of Agriculture is set to study the effects on food security of new guidelines that took effect on 1 June, governing the overloading of trucks and trailers carrying agricultural produce.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala set a meeting with trucking and freight industry leaders and stakeholders on 15 July to tackle the effects of a new resolution amending the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8794, or the Anti Overloading Law, to the movement of rice and other agricultural products around the country, a Department of Agriculture statement said.

The dialogue was requested by Assistant Secretary and National Rice Program Coordinator Dante S. Delima, after meeting with industry stakeholders who claimed that the price of rice and other agricultural commodities could go up by one peso per kilo as a result of the new guidelines.

Mr Delima said, “We noted that the continued implementation of the new guidelines by the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and the Interior and Local Government (DILG), will have an adverse effect on the supply and price of rice in the local market.”

On 1 June 2013, the DPWH and DOTC started implementing a resolution amending the Anti-Overloading Act of 2000 or Republic Act 8794.

The government argues that overloaded trucks and trailers have “tremendous damaging effects” on highway safety and traffic operations, and cause a heavy toll on government investments on infrastructure. Present estimates place road rehabilitation to cost about P13.5 billion every year.

The original IRR was issued on 16 August 2000; but the DPWH, DOTC, and DILG issued a Joint Circular in 2001 providing the mechanics of implementation and enforcement of the provisions on overloading. It came with an attachment called “Annex A” prescribing the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight depending on the configuration of the trucks and/or trailers.

Section 6 of the original law provides that the government shall impose an amount equivalent to 25 per cent of the Motor Vehicles Users Charge (MVUC) for trucks and trailers exceeding their gross vehicle weight, where the prescribed axle load is at 13,500 kilograms per axle.

The new resolution, approved on 5 April 2013, defined overloading as when trucks and trailers exceed the gross vehicle weight prescribed in Annex A, provided that the dual wheel single axle load does not exceed 13,500 kilograms.

The general rule of 13,500 kilogram per axle was set aside by the pre-computed GVW in the Annex A.

As a result, in terms of rice cargo, an ordinary 22-wheeler truck that can carry about 700 to 800 sacks of rice before would now be limited to load only 480 to 530 sacks per trip. This would amount to a P1 increase in price of milled rice per kilo per kilometer, Mr Delima said.

“Strict implementation of the law will result in increasing the cost of freight, handling and storage, and worsen traffic conditions. There may not even be enough trailers and containers to move all the cargo because of the additional trips required to move them all,” he added.

The matter was also brought to the attention of the DPWH, and the truckers were informed that the implementation of the new guidelines might be suspended temporarily. However, Secretary Alcala and Assistant Secretary Delima want more permanent and tangible solutions to the problem.

TheCropSite News Desk

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