BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC-CAR) is urging the commuting public not to patronize the services of colorum vans and buses plying inter-provincial and inter-regional routes primarily because of the absence of their security in times of accidents.
Robert Pukais, chief of the DOTC-CAR’s operations division, explained it is not true that the agency has become relaxed in their anti-colorum campaign that resulted to the proliferation of green plate vehicles plying inter-provincial and inter-regional routes, saying that their operations have become predictable coupled with the non-cooperation of passengers when investigated after the colorum vehicles had been flagged down by enforcers.
“We have revisited our anti-colorum strategies and we have developed new measures in order to combat the presence of colorum vehicles in our city,” Pukais stressed.
He explained enterprising van and bus operators have hired the services of veteran lawyers to look into the technicalities of arrests made on their green plate vehicles in order to avoid paying the huge penalties imposed under Joint Administrative Order (JAO) issued increasing the penalties for violations of the Land Transportation Code of the Philippines.
According to him, surveillance operations are now being conducted in various terminals of colorum vans and buses in order to pinpoint the ones that are illegally operating as they already stopped their operations along the roads considering that passengers refuse to cooperate when asked by enforcers whether or not they paid for the services of their vehicle, saying that what they receive as answers are even in favour of the van drivers or operators.
Under the JAO that is now being implemented, colorum buses are assessed P500,000 fine while colorum vans are billed P200,000 fine.
However, Pukais cited the fine is not automatically imposed on the operators of colorum vehicles considering that their violations will still be subjected to hearings where their lawyers try to scrutinize technicalities that often lead to the non-imposition of the prescribed fines.
The DOT-CAR official disclosed one of the technicalities being taken advantage by the lawyers of the colorum vehicles is the composition of the task force JAO which must undertake the anti-colorum operations, thus, the need for them to make sure that all their deputation orders and ident6ification cards are in order during the conduct of their operations.
Pukais cited passengers should consider their security when riding in colorum vans and buses because the agency is sure that operators cannot compensate the damages inflicted to lives and properties during accidents that may occur en route to their points of destination.
Earlier, Rafael Imayaho, operator of the Ohayami Trans plying the route of Baguio to Ifugao and vice versa, criticized the DOTC-CAR for their alleged inability to strictly conduct anti-colorum operations that have caused the proliferation of colorum vans and buses translating to huge losses among legitimate bus operators in the region.
Imayaho said legitimate bus operators who are affected by the operation of colorum vehicles have signified their intention to accompany members of the DOTC-CAR to the staging and loading areas of colorum vans and buses that affect their respective businesses but it seems the agency is lukewarm to their proposal.
By Dexter A. See