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LTFRB grounds Panda bus

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 12:10 AM March 01, 2017

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday indefinitely suspended the franchise to operate of Panda Coach Tours and Transport Inc. pending further investigation on whether it has the financial capability to operate its fleet of 19 buses.

The agency’s order covered all four franchise issued to the bus firm which has 19 buses, including the one which figured in a crash in Tanay, Rizal on Feb. 20. The accident left 15 people dead, mostly students of Bestlink College of the Philippines (BCP) who were on their way to a camping trip.

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LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra III said that based on a check of Panda Coach’s audited financial statement, the company’s assets totaled only P2.7 million. Of the figure, P2.4 million was classified as a nonrecurring asset.

According to Delgra, the company apparently made an under-declaration since based on its financial statement, each bus would be worth only P127,000.

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On top of this, the 19 buses were transferred to Panda Coach by Sitio Lucia Hotel and Resort Corp. whose incorporators were also the same people behind the bus firm.

“On the surface, there seems to be nothing wrong. It’s just so curious that’s why we have to dig deeper,” Delgra said.

Last week, the LTFRB ordered the preventive suspension of one of the bus firm’s franchise, particularly the one covering the unit that figured in the accident.

For the camping trip, Panda Coach had deployed three of its buses to augment Haranah Tours Corp.’s six buses. Nine buses were used to ferry the students to Tanay.

The LTFRB has ordered Panda Coach, Haranah and BCP to submit on Monday more details about the P1 million mutual fund they set up earlier to help survivors of the bus crash with their medical expenses.

The agency will hold another hearing next week to determine how much aid had been given to the victims’ families as well as survivors.

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TAGS: Best Link Colleges of the Philippines, LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra III, Panda Coach Tours and Transport Inc., Philippine news updates, Tanay bus crash
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