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City to buy tow trucks


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CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu City Council has approved last week a resolution allocating P30 million for the purchase of tow trucks requested by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).


Authored by City Council Joel Garganera, City Council committee on disaster risk reduction and management, safety, and climate change adaptation, the resolution specified P22 million for a brand new "Wheeler Road Wrecker" tow truck and P8 million more for another unit.


The amount would be charged to CCDRRMO’s capital outlay for 2024 under the “disaster response and rescue equipment” account.


Garganera said the purchase is a lesson learned on numerous incidents of traffic congestion at the South Road Properties (SRP) because of vehicles that broke down but could not be towed away immediately because the city did not have the equipment.


Such incidents were considered a “disaster”, economy-wise, because the SRP is a major artery connecting to the business districts of the city.

During the discussion in the council’s regular session last Wednesday, City Councilor Nestor Archival, Sr., questioned the purchase, wanting that the city instead rent the equipment, which he said would just cost the city P3.6 million a year.


Garganera cited reports that from January to June 18 this year, the city recorded 425 incidents of disabled vehicles at the SRP alone and 227 more in other parts of the city.


With this, he also sought the increase of towing charges, arguing that the P3,000 specified in the city’s existing ordinance is "very light".


He said it is high time for the towing charges to be increased so owners and operators of trucks and other vehicles would be more thorough in ensuring that their vehicles are in good condition before entering Cebu City.


He said the City only has two “light vehicles” for towing, hence the request.


"In fact, og naay mga heavy trailers, manghuwam pa tas Mandaue (City)," Garganera said.


This, he said, negatively impacts response time, unlike when the City has its own tow trucks, which would be stationed at the SRP since the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) holds office there.


 City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, who heads the City Council committee on transportation and communication, agreed, saying procuring the two trucks is better compared to the economic loss that result from the traffic caused by stalled vehicles.


 "And it is really embarrassing if Mandaue has all the facilities of these tow trucks and we just need to borrow," he said.


 City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera likewise agreed, saying the city could actually save if it purchases the two trucks, which would be expected to run for at least 15 years, which is their expected life span, compared to the P54 million the city would spend renting the equipment, based on Archival’s suggestion of P3.6 million per year.


 On the need to increase the towing charges, City Councilor Rey Gealon, too agreed, saying the City should impose hefty” fines for unroadworthy vehicles.


 The councilor, who formerly led the CCTO as its executive director, said the CCTO is also wants that the City impose a “traffic congestion fee” for those vehicles that obstruct traffic flow.


 "That would be counted by hours, quantified, in order for the responsible vehicle owner to examine and assess the vehicle for it to pass the (city’s) roads (or not)," Gealon said.



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