Monday, October 18, 2021

LTFRB issues show-cause order to EDSA busway consortiums

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday has issued show-cause orders against the two consortiums operating along the EDSA Busway for failing to deploy sufficient number of buses and amid “persistent reports” of non-payment of drivers’ and conductors’ salary despite having received payments for the Libreng Sakay Program.As a result, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said the two consortiums were ordered to explain why their special permits should not be cancelled, suspended or not penalized for the low turnout of bus units that led to long queues at EDSA Monumento.

“Minabuti nating mag-issue ng show-cause order, directing the two consortiums running the EDSA Busway why their franchise or special permit in running the EDSA Busway should not be cancelled, suspended or that they be not penalized for deploying so few units,” Delgra explained on Monday during the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Road Sector media briefing.

Chairman Delgra explained that the agreed cap on the maximum allowable units of bus units are at 550 buses but the two consortiums on Monday only averaged as low as 120 units.

“Nakita natin kanina nag-average lang ng 150 units ‘yung dalawang consortium. At the lower end pa nga, umabot ng as low as 120 units if I’m not mistaken. We have to call their attention and direct the two consortiums to explain why the employment of these units,” Chairman Delgra said.

On the other hand, Chairman Delgra reiterated that the two consortiums were already paid under the Service Contracting Program yet there are still persistent reports of drivers and conducts complaining of their unpaid salary despite giving full service.

“Now that we have paid so much of this to operators already, particularly dito sa EDSA Busway Consortium or anyone for that matter, hindi na nila pwedeng gawing rason ang hindi pagbabayad sa kanilang drivers,” Chairman Delgra said.

He also reminded the two consortiums are responsible as there is a “employee-employer relationship” between parties and their contractual obligation as mandated by the Labor Code for the EDSA Busway Libreng Sakay Program.

“Mayroong kakulangan ang mga bus operators dito sa hindi pagbabayad ng mga sweldo ng kanilang mga tauhan. There is an employee-employer relationship doon sa mga bus operator and doon sa mga tsuper at konduktor that they hired,” he explained.

“I’d like to remind the bus operators, this is just not a contractual obligation but it is also an obligation that is mandated under the labor code. So, kailangan nilang bayaran ‘yang sweldo na ‘yan. Kikita man o sa palagay nilang malulugi sa palagay nila, kailangan paring bayaran ang sweldo,” he added.

Likewise, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor also reminded operators of their obligation to the public, explaining that “public transport is imbued with great public interest” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Alam natin na binaba dito sa NCR ang Alert Status to Level 3 kung kaya’t mas maraming pasahero ang sumakay. As Secretary Tugade always says— public health and public safety are at stake. Ipinapaalala natin sa mga kaibigang operators na itong ginagawa natin sa EDSA Busway or public transportation in general ay kinakailangan lagi tayong tumalima sa ating service level kung ilang units ang kinakailangang i-deploy at any given time,” Asec. Pastor said.

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