March 3, 2024

Bicol Express News

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OPINION: Who is favoring who

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by Bicol Express News

The drastic and arm-twisting of SITEX management in barring the entry and parking of public utility jeepneys to pick up passengers inside the designated terminal hub made life miserable not only for commuters but also for the drivers affected by the tight fist policy. It was an act serving the best interest of the business conglomerate which put the city government leaders to bite the bullet of the irate public.

Prior to the supposed terminal the city government has a valid MOA with LKY Development Corporation and granted them permission to operate a terminal for public transport for twenty-five years and subsequently extended by the council. On it was clear that no other public transport terminal will be allowed by the city government to operate within a ten-kilometer radius of the operating terminal of LKY.    

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In spite of this provision, the city government established another jeepney terminal plying the route of Bacon District at the basement of the renovated shopping center which is already a violation of the live contract that it signed with the legitimate franchisee to operate a transport hub. Perhaps in consideration of the commuters bound to Bacon, it looked the other way and while a conglomerate was constructing the mall, unceremoniously, terminals of different routes sprouted in side streets of the city, at the Rompeolas and Monreal Street. It created a picture of disarray.

I am in a quandary if the LKY MOA with the city government to operate a terminal was unilaterally dispensed by the present council when it allowed SITEX to operate. Or perhaps they are not in the know of the provisions of the MOA. It is a big joke to dish out a resolution impacting a wide array of confusion and hitting the pocket of low-income families because a sensible mind was not made to fore.

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The city council with its sparks during deliberations failed to see the long-term effect against the riding public of their so-called “window hour” for PUJ’s may enter the city proper. Such an idea is good but only for those with private transport. This idea was to ease the traffic, but who created the mess, it was the city government.

 The number of franchises it approved has a lot of baggage for there are allegedly allocations for members of the council, also allegedly that of the city mayor and those who are close to the power that is.  I have not heard of any traffic count to establish a database number of franchises if needed to serve the riding public. But, as if the running game, prior to the local election additional franchises were approved for issuance by the council. It was a spike that became an ax that easing the traffic is the most palatable excuse for creating a “window hour” and barring after said hour public utilities to enter designated city streets.  

Now SITEX which for all we know is not after the welfare of the commuters and of the jeepney drivers for it is charging an excessive rate as a parking fee. It trumpets a hub but the hub is to fatten their revenue.

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Buses plying the south road and that of the Legazpi route are not using the terminal. The reason is obvious. A mall insider who is not authorized to speak revealed that a ticketing booth monthly rate for buses is fifteen thousand aside from the dispatch fee equivalent to the fare of a passenger. It was an offer for comfort but diced with excesses.

Let me take a look at “who is favoring who” or I say, “rich man poor man.” Only very few Sorsoganons can afford to rent a space inside the mall, Yes it created jobs but can we close our eyes to know the merits of the undertaking? I noticed that in the early days of the mall opening, the official seal of the city government of Sorsogon was bannered side by side with the banner of the mall. What does it imply, why was it not accorded to Gaisano Sorsogon Capital when it opened? 

If SITEX is legitimate will it kindly put a public notice if the terminal was granted a franchise to operate by the Land Transportation Franchising Board and the city council publicly acknowledge if there was a flaw in the MOA with LKY giving them a free hand to terminate such?

The public needs to know, open your closets, let us not play hide and seek.