29 bus operators seek injunction against franchise revocation | Inquirer News

29 bus operators seek injunction against franchise revocation

By: - Business Features Editor / @philbizwatcher
/ 05:38 AM June 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Bus operators on Wednesday asked the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to stop the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) from revoking their franchises by the end of June.

The bus operators warned that the “ill-timed” cancellation of their franchises would kill the local bus industry, make it harder for commuters to travel, and result in a spate of bankruptcies and loss of millions of jobs.

In their complaint for injunction with application for a 72-hour temporary restraining order, 29 public utility bus (PUB) operators—18 of which serve Metro Manila routes—opposed the implementation of several orders issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTFRB.


No due process

Joseph de Jesus, lawyer for the bus operators, charged that the two government agencies were moving to cancel the bus companies’ valid franchises by June 30 without due notice and hearing.


The government is trying to modernize public transportation, part of which is “consolidation” and “route rationalization,” which involves shortening certain routes to decongest others but which requires the elimination of not a few buses.

De Jesus said the bus operators supported the modernization program, but the revocation of franchises was a “major plan” that should not be carried out without public consultation, “especially at the height of a pandemic.”

“Bus firms are not the only ones whose fates are at stake here. An entire economic ecosystem composed of no less than 2 million Filipino families would lose their sources of income once bus operations stop, not to mention the working commuters who would suddenly find themselves looking for other means [of transportation] to get to their work and homes,” De Jesus said.

Selective policy

The nearly three-month coronavirus quarantine of Metro Manila has financially devastated public transport operators. The government has eased quarantine restrictions to allow a phased resumption of economic activity, but a selective public transportation policy aimed at preventing a second wave of coronavirus infections is pushing bus and jeepney operators deeper in losses and making it difficult for workers to return to their jobs.

“Transportation is a critical pillar of the recovery of our economy. [The] government should help the ailing industry pick [itself] up. Without [buses], it would be extremely difficult for people and goods to move at its [normal] pace before the pandemic,” De Jesus said.

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