LTFRB official resigns over bus franchise issueBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has resigned after taking heat for a decision that resurrected nearly 500 “dead” franchises owned by the defunct Pantranco bus company.
In a letter submitted to President Aquino last Sunday, lawyer Manuel Iway, a board member of the LTFRB, denied accusations of wrongdoing, but apologized all the same for putting the administration in a bad light.
“During the past two weeks, the undersigned, together with my colleague, Board member Samuel Garcia of the LTFRB, have been subjected in the newspapers to vile innuendoes over a decision we rendered awarding several franchises owned by Pantranco to its employees, as ordered by the Court of Appeals,” Iway said in a letter.
Iway’s resignation takes effect at the end of the week.
His decision stems from an LTFRB move to revive 489 Pantranco franchises. The said franchises were Pantranco Retrenched Employees Association (Panrea) and the Pantranco Employees Association (PEA), in lieu of the workers’ unpaid retirement benefits.
The franchises were later sold to the Hernandez family, which operates Victory Liner, among other bus companies. But rival bus firms—GV Florida Lines, Dagupan Bus Lines, Saulog Transit, Partas and Baliwag Transit—said giving Victory Liner the franchises would lead to a monopoly of the lucrative Northern and Central Luzon bus routes.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) later called for a review of the LTFRB decision that was signed by Iway and Garcia. LTFRB chairman Jaime Jacob did not sign the decision.
The DoTC last week announced its stand on the issue, believing that the franchises have already expired and should not have been brought back to life.
In the fallout of the issue, Iway said “some members of the media have been quick to imply anomalies and corruption on our part.”
“I can assure you that there is no truth to those ridiculous claims,” Iway said in his letter to the chief executive.
Iway defended his position, noting that his record in government was proof of his integrity as a public employee.
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