The province-wide transportation strike of tourist vans and cars was put on hold after Capitol officials appealed that a last-ditch effort is made to resolve the controversy over the apprehension of vans and cars due to recent imposition of new orders regarding the registration documents of these private transport vehicles.
Gus Pascual, General Manager of the Bohol Island Operators and Drivers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BIODMPC) told the Chronicle yesterday that upon the initiative of Prov’l Board Member Moloy Cepedoza, their group decided to hold on their transport strike pending dialogue with LTO Regional Director Caindec, LTFRB Regional Director Eduardo Montealto and DOT Regional Director Shalamar Tamano.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Mike Dino will convene the meeting among the regional directors tentatively set on Saturday here.
Earlier Pascual told the Chronicle that out of desperation, the 145-member cooperative mulls of pulling out 140 units of vans, cars, and utility vehicles to dramatize their outrage over the perceived high-handed modus operandi of the LTO team in their operation in Bohol.
Brian Aguilar, chair of the Bohol Tourist Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BTMPC) with 167 members and more than 350 units did not foreclose the possibility of joining the planned strike but was still optimistic that the LTO and the LTFRB will resolve the issue of the franchise, CPC, OR and CR.
Unfazed by the blistering attack by stakeholders, LTO Regional Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec told the Chronicle that “we welcome the questions and criticisms regarding our policies and procedures because this is the best opportune time to bring the issues to the public.”
Caindec also raised the question on the practice of vehicles allowed to be used for hire despite the prohibition of the change of classification of mortgaged vehicles financed by bank loans.
A Department of Tourism memo increasing the number of vehicles for tourism transport from three to ten brand new units per individual has ushered the proliferation of cooperatives to accommodate the growing number of tourist vehicles under a memorandum of agreement to legalize their operation.
Caindec admitted that LTO 7 is undergoing an “internal cleansing” to purge the agency of anomalies in the implementation of their policies which are being exploited by unscrupulous persons to the detriment of an unsuspecting public.
Two government transport agencies were put on notice by provincial tourist transport groups that unless they could get their act together over the legality of their franchise documents, tourist transportation in Bohol will face a province-wide wave of disruption in two weeks.
The two multi-purpose cooperatives, the BIODMPC and BTMPC, sick and tired of the LTO and the LTFRB inefficiency and high-handed manner in dealing with the implementation of the Anti-Colorum campaign of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) expressed their disgust and exasperation before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Committee on Public Utilities and Franchises.
The names appearing in the franchise and certificate of public convenience (CPC) issued to cooperatives by the LTFRB that did not match with the registered names under the original registration (OR) and the certificate of registration (CR) issued by the LTO was the main reason the LTO Region 7 group apprehended tourist vans, cars, and utility vehicles.
The LTO team from the Law Enforcement Service of the LTO central office which swooped into Bohol with nary a courtesy call to the Local Government Unit (LGU) and the local LTO office concentrated their operations on vehicles operating without a franchise (colorum).
During the committee hearing on August 16, 2018 of the Public Utilities and Franchise, 2nd District Board Member Dr. Romulo Cepedoza, committee chair and 1st District Board Member Ricky Masamayor, committee member were appalled by the representatives of the transport groups’ vehemence in giving vent to their indignation against the LTO and the LTFRB.
Masamayor told the committee that he personally saw five vehicles allegedly escorted by heavily armed military personnel during an operation conducted by the LTO group.
Apprehended vehicles were reportedly impounded at the grounds of the 47th Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Barangay Macaas, Tubigon.
It has been more than a week, according to the transport groups present during the committee hearing that their pleas for a cohesive clarification over LTOs insistence that names on the franchise and CPC should match with those appearing in the OR and CR should be resolved.
Both cooperatives lambasted the LTO team for conducting their operation under heavily armed military personnel while denouncing LTO Tagbilaran City Information Officer Florencio Balazuela for their failure to inform the cooperative of the sudden changes in their registration protocol despite the previous requirement which was in place since 2010.