MANIBELA urges gov’t to probe LTFRB, DOTr over alleged corruption
MANIBELA urges gov’t to probe LTFRB, DOTr over alleged corruption
MANIBELA urges gov’t to probe LTFRB, DOTr over alleged corruption
by Ada Pelonia10 October 2023
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Transport group Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela) on Tuesday, Oct. 10, called for the government to probe the transportation agencies in the country.

“Mula sa regional directors hanggang kay Secretary [Jaime] Bautista po ang role nitong corruption na to na dapat kasama sila sa imbestigahan,” Manibela Chairperson Mar Valbuena told DZRH in an interview.

This came after Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo 'Jojo' Guadiz III was suspended over alleged corruption in their agency.

Manibela introduced Jeffrey Tumbado, a former Executive Assistant of the LTFRB chairman who revealed the alleged illegal transactions.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista has launched their probe over the matter, emphasizing that they “do not tolerate any form of corruption” and will not think twice imposing “the stiffest sanction” provided there is evidence.

But Valbuena was not satisfied, dubious over the possibility that the issue would be taken lightly.

“Hindi ba kung sila lang din ang mag-imbestiga nito baka moro-moro na naman ang kalalabasan. Dapat magkaroon ng independent body na magi-imbestiga dahil malawak po itong sakop ng LTFRB at DOTr. Dapat po Kongreso at Senado [ang mag-imbestiga] o magtalaga po ang ating pangulo ng independent body na mag-imbestiga dito sa corruption na to,” he said.

Transport strike, call for LTFRB chief’s resignation

In a press briefing on Monday, Tumbado said public utility vehicles (PUVs) operators who wanted a certain route would request him to hasten the process, leading them to pay an amount reaching P5 million to be prioritized. He called this scheme a “ruta for sale” or “special permit for sale.”

The Manibela chief lamented this treatment, citing LTFRB’s issued memorandum circular which stated that traditional jeepneys could only operate by June 30.

“Doon pa lamang po sa nilalabas nilang memorandum circular, mapipilitan ka nang lumapit sa kanila dahil ipit ka. Hindi naman pwedeng pagbigyan yung pakiusap mo nang wala kang pakimkim,” Valbuena said.

“Milyunan po itong pinag-uusapan [...] Ang nagdurusa po dito yung mga kawawang driver na kasamahan namin, yung mga operator at higit sa lahat po yung mga mananakay, ang taumbayan,” he added.

Manibela organized a nationwide transport strike to begin on October 16 as a protest against the phaseout of traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) while also acting as a call for Guadiz’s resignation.

The group will bring their jeepneys in front of transportation agencies’ buildings while honking their jeepneys’ horns.

“Mag-start po kami sa central office ng LTFRB at sa regional office po ng NCR dito sa may Regalado [Highway]. Sa Malacañang ang last stop namin hanggang kung kailan po kami abutin dun at kung kailan po kami maririnig po ng ating presidente,” Valbuena said.

When asked if Guadiz’s resignation would mark the end of their protests, Valbuena clarified their need for assurance.

“Ang makakapagpatigil lang po samin ay kung mase-secure po namin yung hanapbuhay namin [nang] hindi na po kami tinatakot. Yung validity po ng prangkisa namin ibalik po sa 5 years o at least 3 years,” he said.

LTFRB earlier extended the deadline for the consolidation of PUJs and franchises for every traditional jeepney until the end of 2023.

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