Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III on Friday warned transport operators against fixers who collect processing fees, even as he clarified that franchises are issued for free.
“The franchise is free of charge,” Delgra told van transport operators in a joint consultative meeting in Puerto Princesa City.
“It is a privilege granted by the government given to people like you to assume a public responsibility to run a public service. In this case, public transport, he added.
Delgra was responding to transport operators that reportedly paid a processing fee of P75,000 to individuals allegedly connected to transport network company U-Hop.
He blasted fixers whom he said have made this a cash cow business, even as he warned transport operators who tolerate them.
“If that happens, we will really deny your application because you are not deserving of the franchise that we’re going to give you,” he said.
Delgra has urged transport operators to end this illegal activity by reporting to the LTFRB those fixers who come to their aid promising to expedite the release of their franchises.
U-Hop representative Dana Marasigan also appeared before the gathering to clear their company’s name.
“There were fixers who had used the name of U-Hop to open this up to those who were seeking franchises,” she explained.
Marasigan collected the names and contact details of complainants and promised to process the refund of those who can show their proof of payment.
“We will set a date here in Palawan to accommodate all of your refund issues,” she added.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Jay Bolusa said they will let the issue be handled by appropriate investigating agencies which can probe and file charges against those identified fixers.
“If there’s a complaint, we have to refer the complainants to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and Provincial Police for their investigators to find out if there is a cause to file the case at the Office of the Prosecutor,” he said in a press conference.
Bolosa said U-Hop’s expression of “willingness to return the amount” is seen as the “light at the end of the tunnel.” He said the provincial government had given the U-Hop representative a space to discuss the issue with the complainants and come up with an arrangement.
“If they come to an agreement, it will end there. Otherwise, it has to go through proper investigative agencies,” he added.