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PBO and pseudo-transport leaders

In 2007, Region 6 director of the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Porferio Clavel declared that local legislatures had no power to amend or abolish the franchises issued by his office.

The LTFRB functions as administrative tribunal granting franchises to jeepneys, buses, and taxis. Applicants for franchise have to follow quasi-judicial procedures: file a petition, pay docket fees and publications.

The franchise is issued after the hearing in the form of a “certificate of public convenience” signed by the LTFRB regional director.

In Iloilo, the CPC indicates the route, example, from the town of origin to the Super Market, Iloilo City.

Also known as Terminal Market, the “Super” served as “bagsakan” and terminal for all PUJs from Iloilo Province’s 42 towns and one component city of Passi. It then boasted of the cheapest fruits, vegetables, and live native chickens.

The Perimeter Boundary Ordinance circa 2007 changed all that. It restricted the route only up to the privately owned terminals at the outskirts of the city, with a handful allowed to proceed to Super at a time.

Clavel rued that the Iloilo City government unilaterally revised the decree of a national quasi-judicial body.

The city loop drivers under the stewardship of bogus transport leaders are purveyors of the divide-and-rule tactic. When then mayor, now House representative, Jerry Trenas and cabal hatched the PBO in 2006, bogus transport leaders parroted their line that blamed provincial PUJs for the traffic gridlock.

That argument merely covered the obvious. The culprit are owners of private vehicles who jammed the road twice: first, their units outnumber PUJs; second, they treat roads their exclusive parking lot, or worse, garage.

PISTON-Panay president Edgar Salarda says private cars in Iloilo City outnumber PUJs seven to one, which is lower than the LTFRB study, at 10 is to one.

Bogus transport leaders of Iloilo City treat commuters “theirs” or private goods. If you commuted from Barotac Nuevo, for example, you are “their” passenger, hence, must transfer to city loop jeepneys at the Tagbak, Jaro terminal.

That taxes the pockets of commuters, raises handling costs of goods, delays travel, and enriches private terminal owners, among them – Rep. Jerry Trenas and cabal. Trenas is yet to answer persistent public suspicion linking him to one terminal.

We are not surprise to learn that among those decrying the PBO are department stores and stall holders at the Super Area as that jacked up prices of provincial products and reduced their clientele.

There are transport leaders who command our respect for rejecting the canard peddled by opportunists. Among them PISTON’s Edgar Salarda, driver and owner of two jeepneys.

The enemy, according to him, are not fellow drivers. Provincial jeepneys are no culprits clogging roads but negligent enforcers and private vehicles parked on both sides of roads. Further, the hardship felt by city loop drivers are not caused by “unfair competition” from provincial jeepneys: both are victims of the same vampire that bleeds Filipinos, drivers included: the Oil Cartel.

At our conversation a year ago, a driver spent P1,200 per day or P36,000 monthly on fuel but earned only P200 average. More than half of what he spent for fuel went to taxes. Salarda based that at the average price of P40 per liter of diesel; a driver gassed up 30 liters daily.

The driver enriches the Cartel but has only crumbs to feed itself, a fact that pseudo transport leaders, this time, joined by DOT-6 Director Helen Catalbas, miss.


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