“Smashing tricycle side cars with a payloader is too harsh a punishment for people who only want to earn a decent living. They may have violated the law by operating without a permit from the local government,  but just recently we learned that several thousand transport network vehicles operate without permits as well. Will they subject the drivers and operators of these TNVs the same way as the LGU does small tricycle drivers? There has to be a better, more productive, not to mention compassionate way to address these issues without resorting to the destruction of property of the poor and working people.”

This was the statement of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo upon hearing of the actions taken by Quezon City’s Department of Public Order and Safety on the implementation of the one-strike policy on colorum tricycle units which include destroying sidecars. The LGU’s move shocked tricycle owners and drivers as the previous policy gave  up to four chances before  “colorum” tricycles are impounded. Under the new policy, over 80 sidecars have already been destroyed. When it comes to the unregistered motorcycle units,  owners have  to pay the fine of P3,000 to get the just the motorcycle units back.

As the department mandated to care for the  social welfare and development of the poor, the DSWD has been voice of the poor in the Duterte administration.  It has been promoting the development of the communities through its many programs implemented as one—or the Convergence of several of its programs. Some of its most known programs are the convergence of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Kalahi CIDSS, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and other programs from the protective and promotive services.

Currently, Sec. Taguiwalo is communicating with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista to search for  better alternatives for the poor in terms of implementing livelihood programs for those who have been displaced by community demolitions and the destruction of property of the poor.

Urban poor groups also decried on the harsh implementation of the law and have called for, together with the tricycle drivers and owners for indemnification to cover the destroyed units.

“Most of those affected are poor and are barely getting by. They work very hard to feed their families. Government units and their adjunct agencies should rethink of ways to help the poor. We can say the same for sidewalk vendors not really earning enough, but their goods are confiscated or destroyed when they are found to obstruct public walkways with their stalls and carts. We need to show more compassion to address these problems and implement better alternatives,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.#