THE Metro Davao Taxi Operators Association (MDTOA) reminded taxi drivers in Davao City that it is illegal for them to load a friend or any other passenger when they already have an existing passenger.

A Dabawenyo posted on Facebook last week that on February 8, she was on her way home riding a taxi when a stranger suddenly rode with them, after the driver briefly explained to her that the person was his friend.

Shocked, she was not able to complain until she got off on her destination, but she was able to ask netizens in Davao if what the driver did was allowed.

According to MDTOA president attorney Rogelio Largo, this is not allowed and should be avoided for the security of the passenger.

"It will violate the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regulations. Because the moment the taxi is taken by a passenger, that is for the passenger's use only until the destination of the passenger. We can't really tolerate that one. If there are drivers committing that, we should complain to LTFRB so that this practice can be stopped," Largo said, adding the incident is unique as far as their association is concerned.

He clarified, however, that such an act is indeed a violation and should not wait for official complaints to stop the practice.

He said if passengers in Davao City experienced this similar incident, they can file a complaint at the LTFRB office. The passenger can submit the name of the driver to the LTFRB.

Now, that LTFRB has an annual clearance system, drivers with a lot of reported violations can be prohibited from driving a public utility vehicle in the long run.

"We are reminding our drivers to continue to comply with the LTFRB regulations. They should always be mindful of the right of the passengers. It shouldn't be violated especially now that people are active in social media. It is easier to report. If they have violations committed, they can easily be reported to LTFRB and that will somehow give reason to the government agency to stop issuing clearances to them if they have a lot of violations already," Largo added.