Transport group calls for LTFRB 7 director’s resignation anew

Photo by Earl Kim Padronia
Photo by Earl Kim Padronia

MEMBERS of Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston-Cebu) stood firm on their demand for Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. to resign from his post.

The Cebu-based transport group, together with various urban poor and youth sectors, held a protest on Thursday, March 30, 2023, along the Don Bernardo Benedicto Avenue corner General Maxilom Avenue Extension, in front of Robinsons Galleria Cebu in Cebu City.

Piston-Cebu president Greg Perez said all regional directors of the LTFRB across the country gathered in Cebu City on Thursday for a general meeting, prompting them to hold a rally to voice out their sentiments.

He said the protest was in response to Montealto's failure to address the woes of PUV drivers and operators in the region, as well as his “favoritism” toward select corporations and other transport groups.

“Nagpadagan na mi og petisyon niadto pang Marso 6 diri sa atung dakbayan para i-submit ngadto sa national level para pulihan ug ilisan si Director Montealto,” Perez said.

(We’ve run a petition on March 6 in Cebu City for Montealto to be removed. It will be submitted to the national level.)

He said more than 500 of their members and fellow operators and drivers had signed the petition.

They are still gathering more signatories before they can send the petition to their national counterpart and then to the Central Office of the LTFRB, he added.

“Ang mga grounds (sa petisyon) ana kay ang pagpadagan aning walay mga prangkisa, ilabi na aning ilitok nalang nato ang ‘black taxi,’ ang uban kay usa lang ang prangkisa pero nag kanit-kanit. Ang paghatag of franchise sa Ceres nga Simala-IT Park nga walay klaro nga coordination sa local government nga hangtud dili makadagan kay ang local government sa Cebu kay nag-stop man kay naa man existing ordinance nga dapat ayuson pa,” Perez said.

(The grounds we cited on the petition include LTFRB’s permission to have units that have no franchises operate, especially the black taxi, as well as for giving Ceres a franchise to have a Simala-IT Park route without proper coordination with the local government.)

Perez said Montealto failed to coordinate the route of these new buses to the local government units (LGUs).

SunStar Cebu reached out to Montealto for comment but to no avail.

Perez said that franchise operators and drivers of traditional jeepneys were also having a hard time transacting at the LTFRB 7 office.

He said Montealto leans more in issuing “provisional authority” and “special permits” on modern PUVs and buses and this started at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said this resulted in the lack of PUVs in the city that affect commuters, as they were left stranded on streets during rush hour.

“Nganung dili man niya ipagamit ang mga franchise sa atuang mga traditional kay ang matag rota naa naman mga franchise nato,” Perez said.

About 50 percent or 2,500 units from 5,000 units only of the traditional jeepneys had returned to the streets of Cebu City since the pandemic.

“Wala gitugutan kay mo-agi pa sa butas nang karayom sa pagkuha pa lang sa PA (Provisional Authority), isulod mo muna sa coop (cooperative) arun ma-process ka ug arun ma-consolidate mo,” Perez said.

(Some traditional jeepneys were not allowed to operate and they have to undergo a stringent process from securing a provisional authority to registering with a cooperative, so they will be consolidated.)

He said they are not against the consolidation of traditional jeepneys but this should not be forced on drivers and operators, and it has to be done in the later part of the year.

He said most of their members are not yet ready for the modernization, especially that buying a modern PUV unit would cost around P2.5 million or more.

Traditional jeepneys, instead, have to be calibrated first in accordance with the standards set by the LTFRB. (EHP)


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