Roxas holds revival of Pantranco franchisesBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines—The revival of 489 expired franchises of the long defunct Pantranco bus company was suspended by Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas on Friday.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has revived the franchises of Pantraco North Expresses Inc., awarding them to several bus firms owned by the Victory Liner Group.
“Under Sections 1 and 3, Rule 19 of the 2011 Revised Rules of Practice and Procedure of the LTFRB, the DOTC Secretary has the power to review ‘motu propio’ (of his own initiative) and issue an order staying the execution of the decision of the LTFRB,” the DoTC said in a statement.
Roxas ordered the DOTC legal team to conduct a comprehensive and fair review of the LTFRB’s decision. They will also review the policy of the government on the selling of franchises to third parties, the statement said.
“It’s not right for the certificate of public conveyance in the land transportation sector to be transferred arbitrarily without the consent of its rightful owner which is the State,” Roxas said.
The LTFRB earlier deferred the sale of franchises after five bus companies—GV Florida Lines, Dagupan Bus Lines, Saulog Transit, Partas and Baliwag Transit—asked the DoTC to prohibit the transfer of the franchises to the Victory Liner group, the country’s biggest bus company.
Ownership of the disputed franchises was awarded by the Court of Appeals—upholding a National Labor Relations Commission decision—in favor of former Pantranco employees that never got their retirement benefits when the company closed down. The employees later sold the franchises to the Hernandez family, which runs Victory Liner and several other bus firms. With a report from Paolo G. Montecillo, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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