LTFRB official to striking drivers, operators of public vehicles — 'I will cancel your franchise'

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 March) — Operators and drivers of public utility vehicles who are joining the planned national transport strike on Thursday face the risk of having their franchises cancelled, a top official of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board of Region XI warned.

Benjamin Go, regional director of LTFRB-XI said in the press forum at SM City Davao on Monday that the agency will resort to the cancellation of the franchises arguing that joining the strike would violate the duty of the operators to the riding public.

“I dare you (drivers) to give a sworn affidavit if they would participate in the transport strike. I believe that it is a Jurassic means to express their sentiments,” he said, adding the whole thing would undergo due process.

Edgar Violan, administrative officer of LTFRB-XI meanwhile said about 30 buses will be deployed within the city for passengers who may be stranded during the transport strike.

“But the number of units will increase as the need arises,” Violan said.

He said that depending on the need the number of buses to be deployed may reach 70 and would ply the routes along Ulas, Toril, Calinan, Lasang, Panacan and Tibungco.

Last week, the agency reported that the opening of franchise for buses with “intra-city” routes would lessen the impact of the transport strike.

But Edil Gonzaga, secretary-general of Transmission-Piston, said earlier that they would launch a signature campaign asking for the resignation of Go if the LTFRB pursues its plan to grant new franchises to bus companies in time for the transport strike.

The planned protest action was triggered by continuing increases in fuel prices especially after political turmoil erupted in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Since January, the prices of gasoline increased by P7.35 per liter and the prices of diesel by P6.50 per liter.

Transmission-Piston said about 95 to 97 percent of the public utility vehicles are expected to join the transport strike along with other groups like the South Eastern Mindanao Diversified Drivers Operators Cooperative (Semddoc) and Network of Transport Organization.

Some 7,000 public transport drivers belong to Semddoc. (MindaNews)