Governor Arthur Yap has appealed to the public to give him more time to address Bohol’s transportation woes brought by the shutdown of public utility vehicle (PUV) operations, saying that the province is going up against the “entire national government” in resolving the issue.
The riding public in Tagbilaran City was in disarray Wednesday morning due to minimal vehicles servicing various routes as the Land Transportation Office (LTO) barred the operation of PUVs which have not secured special permits from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to operate while the province is under general community quarantine (GCQ).
“Naningkamot ang inyohang gobernador, I’m doing my best, pero mura’g ang kalaban ang tibuok national government, ang kontra nato diri ang entire transportation agencies ng Pilipinas so mao ng please hatagi ko og saktong panahon,” Yap said.
Yap said that the LTFRB and LTO are only causing “chaos” in the province amid the health crisis, adding that having fewer PUVs operating would only cause congestion in terminals and inside vehicles, possibly leading to the neglect of social distancing measures.
He called on the LTFRB to be “realistic” and consider in its policy-making that the circumstances in Bohol and other provinces are not the same with those in Metro Manila which has been heavily hit by the virus.
“Nakasabot ta na sa NCR (National Capital Region) na grabe ang pagtakod-takod didto, of course dapat mas strikto sila sa pag regulate sa mga mode of transportation, pero dinhi sa Bohol dapat we have to be realistic, COVID-free naman ta,” the governor said.
According to Yap, he has raised the issue with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade who in turn relayed the province’s situation to officials from various concerned agencies.
Yap believes that the issue may be resolved soon as Tugade has taken into consideration Bohol’s situation.
“Si Secretary Tugade, nakasabot na sa atong problema, naghinaot ta na ang LTO ug LTFRB makamata sila, they have to wake up and see the situation right now,” he said.
No LTFRB office
The LTFRB has been prioritizing the issuance of special permits to buses due to its larger capacity, but Yap raised that Bohol does not have enough units to cater to its entire riding public.
Yap said that it may appear that Bohol has an adequate number of buses based on records at the national level but many of these units are old and dilapidated.
Meanwhile, there are no LTFRB offices in Bohol and the nearest one is in Cebu which is unreachable by Bohol residents amid the travel restrictions.
“How do we register all of these vehicles? Kahibalo naman ta sa sitwasyon sa government offices didto sa Cebu, grabe ang volume sa transaction nila didto, mao na ma-delay,” Yap said.
The LTFRB imposed the need for a special permit in areas under GCQ in April in accordance with guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
The LTFRB said that even PUVs with a franchise are not allowed to operate in an area under GCQ without the permit.
Bohol has been under GCQ since May 1 and is expected to be under the same quarantine level until June 15, unless further extended by the national government. (A. Doydora)