Delta calms protesting quarry truckers

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Heeding the appeal of Pampanga Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda, some 2,000 haulers of Mt. Pinatubo’s sand and gravel have agreed to remove the 150 trucks that barricaded eight toll gates of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in the province on Saturday.

Haulers put up the barricades to protest the policy of NLEX Corp. prohibiting the entry of 12-wheeler and 14-wheeler trucks on the tollway since late August.

NLEX Corp officials also snubbed the Nov. 6 meeting with quarry trucking firms to finalize the allowable load of cargo, said Lennard Lansang, president of the Porac Truckers and Haulers Association.

Lansang said the protest, which began at 6 a.m., paralyzed traffic on toll gates in San Simon, City of San Fernando, Mexico, Floridablanca, Porac, Angeles City, Dau, Mabiga and Sta. Inez.

Lansang said they ended the protest at 7:20 a.m. after Governor Pineda committed to take the issue to national leaders.

“The NLEX is owned by the government. NLEX Corp. only manages it but it decided to ban quarry trucks without consulting local government units,” the governor told reporters.

He criticized the NLEX Corp for “its slow system of resolving issues.”

“All that its management do is talk. It does not provide solutions,” Governor Pineda said, adding he was worried for the some 4,000 drivers and helpers who do not earn income as the ban entered its third month.

The daily rate of drivers and helpers are P1,000 and P500, respectively. Haulers get a profit of P2,000 after operational expenses and amortization on vehicles.

Governor Pineda said that during the latest dialogue, haulers informed him that they have reduced the sidings of their trucks to be able to comply with the allowable load on NLEX.

“They cannot use the MacArthur Highway because it is busy and the road condition is bad,” he explained.

The governor said the prohibition was not being enforced squarely because information reaching him showed that some patrol guards allow heavier trucks in exchange for P1,000.

Governor Pineda also slammed the management of NLEX Corp. after two its patrol guards arrested a protesting driver at gunpoint.