CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - A TRANSPORT group yesterday warned it would paralyze much of the public transportation in this part of the country unless the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) acts on a complaint against a bus company for undercharging.
The group, calling itself Bonded and United Members of Provincial Endangered Route (Bumper), gave LTFRB officials in Manila until this month to act on its problem with the bus company Super 5.
The LTFRB has set a pre-hearing of the case against Super 5 on June 30.
"The workers are getting hungry day by day," said Bumper lawyer Her-nan Tabalba as he decried the practice of undercharging.
The group said many operators and drivers of public vehicles have long been complaining about the ‘‘unfair competition’’ from Super 5.
Tabalba has accused Super 5 and the firm’s owner, Paul Padayhag, of defying a LTFRB order against the illegal fare reduction.
‘‘It’s killing the drivers and their families,’’ said Tabalba.
Unless Super 5 is stopped, Tabalba said he feared Padayhag would soon monopolize the public transport business in this part of the country by ‘‘sabotaging the industry."
On May 11, LTFRB suspended the operations of Super 5 for one month due to violations. The Board even warned that defiance would mean the seizure of the firm’s buses.
But Tabalba said Super 5 merely ignored the order and continued to operate under the noses of authorities.
"Padayhag received the order on May 2 but Super 5 continued to operate until May 20 and only stopped on May 21.
This means they stopped operating for 12 days only and not 30 days. The 30-day suspension order was ignored," said Tabalba.
Tabalba said he could not understand the inaction of concerned government agencies in regard to the Super 5 problem when several cases have been filed against the company.
"If nothing happens during the June 30 pre-hearing, we will be forced to stage a demonstration. We need immediate action. To delay the cases would be to delay justice," he said.
Bumper, is the umbrella organization of nine transport groups that include the Iligan Drivers’ Association, Iligan Cooperative Jeepney Operators Inc., Iligan Transport Services Cooperative), West Misamis Oriental Operators, Drivers and Dispatchers’ Cooperative Association, Iligan-Lugait Drivers’ Association;
Iligan, Kulambugan, Kapatagan Operators and Drivers’ Association; and the Iligan, Kauswagan, Operators and Drivers’ Association.
The biggest bus company in this part of the country, Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI), will be joining Bumper’s cause, according to Tabalba.
RTMI, he said, has also been complaining about Super 5’s ‘‘unfair’’ business practices. (With a report from AMOR BARLISAN)
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