Comelec warns vs politicking in use of LGUs’ buses on Holy Week

CEBU. The bus of the Cebu City Government waits to give free rides to call center workers and other commuters in front of Andok’s in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City. (SunStar File/Amper Campaña)

AS LONG as there is no politics involved, local government units (LGUs) may deploy vehicles to ferry their stranded constituents at the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) during the observance of the Holy Week, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

In anticipation of the more than 450,000 passengers expected to flock to the terminal, the CSBT management plans to ask LGUs to help augment public utility buses by deploying vehicles that will cater to passengers from their towns.

In an interview on Monday, April 8, CSBT operations manager Jonathan Tumulak said they will ask for Comelec’s opinion on the matter through the Provincial Legal Office.

“Based on records, big events lead to shortage of buses. We’d just like to know if tapping the LGUs would not be considered as an election offense,” he said.

According to Acting Cebu Provincial Elections Supervisor Jerome Brillantes, the delivery of basic services is not covered by the election ban.

“They can still deliver basic services as long as there’s no politics involved. Delivery of basic services is not covered by the prohibition,” Brillantes said.

Tumulak assured there will be no politicking involved in the deployment of buses as the May 13 elections draw near.

He said they will make sure no campaign materials are placed both inside and outside the vehicles, and that LGU personnel accompanying the vehicles will not wear clothes bearing any candidate’s name or photo.

At least 300 buses go in and out of the terminal every day, but each bus can accommodate a maximum of only 60 passengers at a time.

Each bus makes an average of three rounds, and Tumulak said it might not be able to catch up with the number of passengers.

Passenger records of the CSBT on Holy Week last year showed 237,840 departures and 173,940 arrivals.

The highest number of passengers was recorded on Holy Wednesday, with 41,340 departures and 27,060 arrivals.

This year, at least 452,958 passengers are expected to pass through the terminal for the observance of the Holy Week. (RTF)


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