Only days after its awaited entry into Panglao, the Southern Star Bus Companyâ€™s operations in the town may be short-lived as the validity and sufficiency of its franchise and documents have been put into question.
The Southern Star or Ceres trips that go through the town may be suspended if authorities prove that the bus line does not have enough documents to ply the Tagbilaran-Panglao route, Rey Elnar, Assistant Regional Director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), said.
Panglao drivers and operators of public utility jeepneys or PUJs have initially raised a petition seeking the blockage of the entry of the much bigger transportation company into the town.
According to the group, the bus firm has not shown the proper documents that would prove that they are authorized to operate in Panglao.
Elnar said that he will let the Tagbilaran City Land Transportation OfficeÂ (LTO) look into the franchise that the bus company is holding which supposedly allows them to make trips going through the town.
If the investigators prove that Ceres does not have the proper franchise, the LTO could impound the companyâ€™s units used for its Panglao trips as these can be considered as â€œcolorumâ€ vehicles.
Based on the Joint Administrative Order, a public utility vehicle which plies a route without a franchise or special permit from the LTFRB may be considered Â â€œout of lineâ€ and the violator could be given a heavy punishment such as the revocation of franchise and a fee of at least P1 million.
As verified by Elnar, the LTFRB did not issue the Southern Star a franchise or a special permit, prompting him to urge the LTO to look into the issue.
As of writing, the LTOâ€™s inquiry is still ongoing through the leadership of its chief, Erwin Patalinghug. The process will determine if the bus company indeed has a franchise and sufficient documents that allow it to operate in Panglao. Â (with reports from Allen Doydora)