LTFRB Wants Own Enforcement Arm

MANILA, Philippines --- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) needs to have an enforcement arms of its own to get rid of out-of-line or colorum public utility vehicles (PUV) on the road, according to LTFRB Chairman Jaime Jacob.

However, Jacob said there is need for legislation to amend the LTFRB's charter to create an enforcement arm that will be focused on apprehending PUV operators who violate the terms of their franchise or those who operate private vehicles as PUVs.

The need to rid colorum utility vehicles was highlighted by the recent busting of a gang using such vehicles to rob passengers, he said.

In the past, the LTFRB has asked for the approval of the Department of Transportation and Communications for a creation of ''Franchise Enforcers.'' But the proposal did not prosper because Jacob said the law that created the LTFRB says its law enforcers should be from the Land Transportation Office.

''Legislation is required because the law says LTO is our enforcer,'' he said.

But Jacob said the LTO and other traffic-law enforcing groups focus on apprehending violators of traffic rules. He said it would be better for the LTFRB to focus on apprehending erring PUV or colorum operators because they have the needed ''focus.''

''Other enforcement agencies have other or many concerns. (LTFRB will be the best to enforce franchise-related rules because) we have the repository of data needed to determine which PUVs have valid franchises,'' Jacob said.

At present, LTFRB deploys some of its personnel to conduct unannounced terminal visits and inspection throughout the year. Since LTFRB is presently undermanned, the agency is limited to conduct random checks during peak travel seasons.

Earlier, police authorities intercepted members of a robbery gang notorious for preying on passengers of FX and AUV taxis. Some members of the gang were linked in the murder of Alister Quintos, the 32-year-old aide of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, last May.

According to the National Bureau of Investigation, Quintos was shot dead inside a Mitsubishi Adventure van (TXQ 215) just minutes after he boarded the colorum taxi on his way home to Antipolo City on May 10. Quintos' body was found the following day dumped along a road in San Ildefonso, Bulacan.

A witness who saw Quintos alive before the murder positively identified two members of the robbery gang as involved in the killing.

Members of the robbery gang admitted that they use colorum FX shuttle vehicles to pick up potential victims. The group said they operated in parts of Metro Manila, Antipolo City and the nearby provinces of Bulacan and Cavite.

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