MANILA, Philippines – In the face of threats of a transport strike over higher fines that will be enforced beginning Thursday, June 19, Malacañang reminded operators and owners of public utility vehicles of their duty to the public.
“Yan pong mga lalahok diyan, kung sila po ay operator o nagmamaneho ng public utility vehicles, mainam sigurong paalalahanan nila ang kanilang mga sarili na mayroon silang tungkulin na serbisyo-publiko kaya po sila binigyan ng prangkisa,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr in a press briefing on Tuesday, June 17.
(If you’re an operator or driver of a public utility vehicle and you’re joining the mass strike, we hope you remember your duty to the public. It’s why you were given franchises in the first place.)
Transport groups on Tuesday failed to secure from the Supreme Court a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the joint administrative order (JAO) issued by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Land Transportation Office, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
The JAO lists down violations and fines connected to licenses, vehicle registration and operation, vehicle specifications, and other general provisions. For instance, operators caught using “colorum” buses will have to pay a fine of P1 million for the first offense, up from the current P10,000.
Subsequent violations can lead to the cancellation of the certificate of public convenience (CPCs) where the unit is registered.
SC orders DOTC to comment
Instead of issuing a TRO, the high court only asked the DOTC to comment on the petition filed by Stop and Go Transport Coalition through its president Jun Magno Jr.
According to the petitioners, the DOTC and its attached agencies “exercised grave abuse discretion” in issuing the order because:
But DOTC spokesperson Michael Sagcal bellied these claims, saying the DOTC was within its jurisdiction in issuing the JAO and that public consultations had been made nationwide.
With the absence of a TRO, nothing can stop the DOTC from enforcing higher fines on errant drivers and public transportation operators. Still, Coloma hopes transport groups would dialogue with the agencies concerned, instead of staging a strike.
He said the DOTC, LTFRB, and LTO were ready to speak to the groups.
“Huwag naman tayo humantong doon sa mga aksyon na magbibigay ng ligalig at hindi mainam na kaganapan sa ating mga kababayan. Inaasahan po sila ng ating mga kababayan sa paghahatid ng mahalagang serbisyo publiko. Sana’y isaalang-alang ito ng mga operators at mga tsuper sa kanilang gagawing pagkilos,” he said.
(We hope they don’t do something that would inconvenience and harm the commuting public. Filipnos depend on them, their public service. We hope public utility vehicle drivers and operators think about the public when weighing their options.) – Rappler.com