• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Traditional jeepney operators in Bacolod City will start processing their extended provisional authority that will allow them to continue their operation, before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Office in Iloilo today.
The LTFRB extended until December 31, the June 30 deadline for public utility vehicles (PUVs) to consolidate into a single cooperative or corporation under the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP).
Eduardo “Jun” Asis, secretary general of Sentro Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Negros (SSTONE), yesterday said that more than 500 PUV operators have submitted their application for processing. They will be accompanied by City Administrator Pacifico Maghari and their private lawyer to LFTRB today, while there will be a second batch of applicants to follow.
Asis said they are thankful to the local government for helping them create a technical working group (TWG) that will assist operators in processing their documents with the LTFRB. He said Federation of Bacolod City Drivers Association (FEBACDA) president Elizabeth Katalbas is the committee chairman of the TWG while he is the team leader.
Councilor Al Victor Espino said they hope that LTFRB will expedite the processing of the operators’ application for provisional authority, following the national board meeting that was attended by Maghari. This is proof that city officials are giving attention to the concerns of the transport sector.
Espino also pointed out that he had authored a resolution supporting LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2023-17 extending the deadline for industrial consolidation for routes, and extended the validity of the provisional authority issued under MC No. 2022-033 until December 31.
Meanwhile, Espino said it is the right of the members of the Bacolod Alliance for Commuters Operators and Drivers, Inc. (BACOD), to file a complaint against him for the May 8 incident while he also has the right to defend himself. If they lose the case he will be filing counter charges against them.
BACOD secretary general said they plan to file administrative charges and a case for grave misconduct against Espino before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission for the way he treated them during the May 8 “untat byahe” at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds.
Asis said the protesters were unable to paralyze transport operations on May 8 since only a few participated in the untat byahe. BACOD separated from their group because they have another agenda.
On the other hand, SSTON has 26 affiliate members composed of more than 5,000 individuals. It comprises 85 percent of the transport groups in Bacolod City, he added.*