MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City (QC) government canceled Dimple Star Bus' business permit and closed down its terminal as well as ticketing office on Monday, March 26.
According to QC Mayor Herbert Bautista, the closure is due to the bus company's non-compliance with the city's business permit requirements.
"No'ng tiningnan sa Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Office, ang Dimple Star eh non-compliant sila. Ta's nagkaron sila ng aksidente. 'Yung prangkisa nila, LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) 'yun. Ito, business permit 'to para mag-operate sila. Function 'yan ng LGU (local government unit)," Bautista said.
(When the Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Office checked Dimple Star's records, they found that the bus company is non-compliant. Then an accident happened. Their franchise falls under the LTFRB. But this one concerns their business permit to operate. That's a function of the LGU.)
The QC mayor also noted that Dimple Star's terminal along EDSA looks more like a garage than a terminal.
"Iba 'yung garahe sa terminal pero 'yung itsura nito, garahe eh. At marami pang ganitong klase," he said. (A garage is different from a terminal but this one looks like a garage. And there are other supposed terminals that look like this.)
Bautista added that the closure order means Dimple Star will not be able to continue its operations anywhere in QC.
He also said that this should serve as a warning to other bus operators in the city who may not be compliant with requirements.
"Mas mahalaga ang buhay para sa 'tin," Bautista added. (Lives are more important to us.)
The closure order came after the LTFRB issued a preventive suspension order against Dimple Star Bus' entire 118-unit fleet.
Dimple Star said its customers affected by the closure order can get refunds from the ticketing office where the ticket was purchased. Customers must present their ticket and a valid ID.
Edna Garaiz, 55, is a regular Dimple Star rider. She said she was supposed to leave on Easter Sunday, April 1, but safety is still her primary concern.
"Sa akin lang, kung ipasara nila, okay lang. Ang mas importante 'yung safety namin," she said. (For me, if they close Dimple Star, that's fine. Our safety is more important.)
But Garaiz might not be able to come home on Easter Sunday as trips are often fully booked during Holy Week.
The LTFRB advises those inconvenienced by the suspension of Dimple Star to avail of other bus companies' services.
LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said those bound for Mindoro or Iloilo can buy tickets from Philtranco, Ceres, Bachelor, or Goldstar.
On March 21, at least 19 people were killed and 21 others were injured after a Dimple Star bus fell off a bridge in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
President Rodrigo Duterte on March 23 ordered the arrest of Dimple Star owner Hilbert Napat. The owner appeared before the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at Camp Crame the same day, saying that his bus company is willing to cooperate with the investigation into the crash. – with reports from Fortunato Madamba / Rappler.com