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Metro Opinion

What’s Wrong, Provincial Buses

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

With the travel mobility we have at the moment, most of us are now seriously considering going on a road trip outside the metropolis for a vacation and/or spending the Holiday Season with our loved ones.

For those who have to take public transport, there lies a big problem. Compared to air transport, land transportation, specifically servicing the provincial routes, is still a closed service sector.

I wouldn’t like to assume that this sector has become highly politicized. However, in contrast to the operations of other service sectors – hotels and restaurants – they function automatically, depending on the level of alertness.

Why? What’s wrong with the provincial buses?

From what I heard along the Palace grounds, the IATF has put on the table its resumption. Majority of Cabinet members in attendance during the meeting last week that included Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat, Health Sec. Francisco Duque, IATF Spokesperson Karlo Norgrales and Labor sec. Sivestre Bello – are in favor.

But Transportation Sec. Arturo Tugade and Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Ano opposed it. Both officials, I’ve heard, want all bus companies from the north to have an endpoint permanently in Bocaue.

This is an incremental financial burden to commuters, who will have to shell out additional money for their fare going inside the metropolis.

Instead, the transportation secretary is proposing a sub committee to discuss this but it has to be outside the IATF.  

The Provincial Buses Association of the Philippines has time and again appealed to authorities to allow them to operate, with most of its members reeling from financial difficulties having been closed for nearly 20 months now. But, it appears such a request has fallen on deaf ears.

Let me fill you in on what’s going on. Out of the goodness of his heart, Pangasinan Governor Amado I. Espino III has stepped in to help the bus operators. The Governor wrote Sec. Tugade seeking for a dialogue between and among all concerned parties/stakeholders this coming Friday. He even offered to be the host for the venue. The objective is to find a “common ground to make possible the long-awaited resumption of bus operations.”

As Christmas Day draws to near, an exodus of the people going home to their respective provinces is expected. More than ever, it is this time that the services of the provincial buses are needed.


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