“Tagging” scheme staves off Bohol tourist transport strike

A new and original color-coded vehicle tagging scheme that will distinguish transport vehicles that have complied with all the documentary requirements for tourist transport from those who are still in the process of completing their documents apparently mollified the deep apprehensions of the majority of tourist transport operator poised to stage a province-wide strike.

The ingenious green and red color tagging plan is now under serious consideration from both the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The Governor’s Office will throw its full support to the proposed identification system to minimize mounting disenchantment by tourist transport cooperatives over the chaotic interpretation of transportation laws, memorandums, and orders by the LTO and the LTFRB.

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Conceived out of frustration over the never-ending years of grappling with bureaucratic problems plaguing the transport system in the country and a potential devastating tourist strike foisted by local transport operators, the three government agencies assured the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGB) that the tagging proposal will undergo a thorough study by their respective departments.

Represented by their respective regional directors – Victor Emmanuel Caindec of the LTO, Eduardo Montealto, Jr. of the LTFRB and Shalimar Hofer Tamano of the DOT together with a representative of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, traded questions, answers, and suggestions aimed to bridge misunderstanding among the stakeholders.

However, Caindec did not give a categorical assurance that the ongoing LTO operation against colorum or unregistered vehicles will be suspended during the three month period when the proposed color tagging scheme will be scrutinized by the agencies concerned.

The time-bound study was given three months to complete with the provincial government providing the office space and support staff to process the requirements of transport operators to qualify them for the color-coded tags.

OUT OF THE BOX SCHEME

As envisioned by the proponents, vehicles of operators with complete documents will be tagged with a green sticker.

According to Caindec, these operators and their respective vehicles are considered “technically compliant” of LTO documentary requirements including an approved arrangement from the banks if the vehicle is mortgaged.

They are assured of a hassle-free operation in the province and will be free from the strict inspection of LTO enforcement teams and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

Those operators and their vehicles who lack the documentary requirements required by the LTO, LTFRB and the DOT shall be red-tagged and can operate freely for three months and failure to comply would mean losing their red status and can be classified as unregistered or colorum.

However, both operators of green and red tagged vehicles are required to sign an undertaking that should they meet an accident all the necessary responsibilities as a franchise holder should be strictly followed especially the security of a comprehensive insurance coverage.

But a tagged vehicle is not exempted from the requirements of seat belts, state of condition of their vehicles, proper driver’s license and the strict observance of traffic rules and regulations.

NOT PRO RICH

During the almost three-hour open discussion arranged by the Provincial Government and the SP at the Bohol Cultural Center on September 6, 2018, the LTFRB Regional Director Montealto, Jr. explained the rationale for the minimum requirement of the minimum 10 latest model vehicle as required by the DOT to obtain a tourist transportation franchise.

According to Montealto, the safety and comfort of the passengers are the primary concern of the fleet requirement and is not aimed to prevent individuals to engage in the tourist transport business.

Expenses to secure a franchise is practically nil and the main requisite is for individuals to band into a group preferably under a cooperative composed of a minimum of ten vehicles, according to Montealto.

CONCERTED MOVE

Governor Edgar Chatto who acted as moderator during the open forum together with Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio expressed relief that some of the assailed requirements of the concerned agencies where administrative in nature and will not undergo the rigors of a legislative process. 

The three agencies also promised to iron out the mismatching of names appearing in the certificates from the LTO and the LTFRB which was blamed by operators as the main culprit in the chaotic implementation of the transport laws.

Considered as first in the country, if approved for implementation, the color-coded tourist transport tagging scheme will be replicated in all the regions under the LTO and the LTFRB. (Chito M. Visarra)  



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