PASADA APPEALS TO DUTERTE: LTFRB SHOULD OPEN PROVINCIAL BUS ROUTES WITHOUT STRINGS ATTACHED

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With just ten days away from Christmas, a commuter group today lauded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s decision to re-open provincial bus routes to allow Filipinos to observe the traditional custom of spending Christmas with their loved ones in their home provinces

However, says Atty.Argee Guevarra, Convenor of Pilipino Society and Development Advocates-Commuter Consumer (PASADA CC), as of today, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has not re-opened these routes, citing that bus operators must apply for special permits even though all bus operators have their respective franchises already.

Guevarra says the LTFRB should not shame the President by imposing conditions that makes it hard for bus operators to do their public services.

The decision relieves thousands of migrant workers who are staying in the National Capital Region for work to fall victim to colorum vans who exploit them by charging exorbitant fares just to reach their home provinces.

“ As Christians, it is important for Filipinos everywhere to spend it with their close loved ones. We have many migrant workers here in Metro Manila who want to go back to their home provinces and spend the long holidays with their respective families. Most of them use provincial buses to reach their homes. Cheaper and safer,” says Guevarra.

Prior to this directive from the president, many migrant workers and balikbayans risk a ride to their home provinces thru colorum buses and vans that charge as much as 3-5,000 pesos per head per trip to provinces in North Luzon. Curiously, the LTFRB has not issued any order for the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol or to local government units to arrest these colorum buses and vans leading to increased speculations that some officials of the agency may have colluded with these colorum operators to take advantage of the closure of provincial bus routes.

With Duterte’s directive, thousands of Filipinos will now be able to go back to their families in the provinces for the holidays without falling victim to this nefarious scheme by those who want to exploit the situation.

Guevarra advises commuters who want to go back to their homes to avail of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) offer to subsidize 50% of their COVID-19 tests or to Hero Laboratories which conduct testing in two bus terminals in Pasay and Cubao to provide travelers with a no frills way of securing their PCR or antigen tests prior to travel.

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